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Sex tourism complicates the prostitution industry

Update: December, 01/2012 - 10:15

DA NANG (VNS)— The increasing complexity of the sex industry, most notably the growing emergence of sex tourism and gay prostitutes, has made regulating the sector an unenviable task, a conference reviewing prostitution prevention under a 2011-15 programme has heard.

Deputy Head of HCM City's Social Evils Fighting and Prevention Department Le Van Quy said the number of male sex workers in HCM City has been on the rise, increasing the risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases to the community as most did not access healthcare services for fear of discrimination.

Five years ago, the department arrested 22 male sex workers and sent them to rehabilitation centres, but it was forced to release them as there was no legal basis to help solve the problem, he said.

The same situation occured in southern Can Tho and central Da Nang cities.

Initial figures from the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs showed that there were more than 113,500 relaxation services such as spa and massage parlours and karaoke bars nationwide in 2012, with over 58,000 female staff. Of which, 3.2 per cent of the services and 13.2 per cent of female staff were allegedly offering sexual services.

Compounding the issue further, female prostitution has been operating secretly by cruising in cars or offering the services through the internet, especially in tourism sites.

Major Vu The Huan, deputy head of the Ministry of Public Security's Criminal Office No4, said the police would lobby the Government to adjust the law on male sex workers to curb this form of prostitution.

Huan also said that the police would work with the communication sector to block pornographic material on the internet.

So far, 50 of the 63 cities and provinces nationwide have established a trial model to help former prostitutes re-integrate into the society.

At the conference, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs announced a new national programme to supporting trafficking victims from 2012-15.

The VND80 billion (US$3.8 million) project will give legal support to victims and help them gain financial assistance by setting up at least three centres during the period.

Figures from the Ministry of Public Security's Social Evils Fighting and Prevention Department showed that police made 1,077 arrests in relation to prostitution and 744 prosecutions.

Meanwhile, border soldiers had rescued 177 victims of human trafficking, 16 of which were children. — VNS

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