The Guangdong Public Security Department was forced to make the embarrassing announcement on January 23 that the city’s notorious sex industry was back in full swing only one year after its supposed cleanup.
sex worker, China
Approximately a year ago, the nation began a crackdown on prostitution in Dongguan, Guangdong province. Locals called the crackdowns “typhoons” which usually left as quickly as they came. But the last crackdown, which continued through the last four months of 2014, was comparatively fierce.
Beijing Youth Daily found that as many as 70 percent of the entertainment venues closed by police had been allowed to reopen as ‘vice-free’ establishments. The list includes 631 foot massage centers, 465 karaoke bars and 38 saunas, according to the Public Security Department of Guangdong.
But the claim that vice is gone from Dongguan’s venues is highly suspicious.
Dongguan’s sex industry has merely shifted from half-open to being wholly underground, Chongqing Youth Daily reported on January 29. The report quotes Zhang Mingcheng, a notorious john known to many of the city’s sex workers, as saying sex work has shifted to home service and phone appointments.
“You don’t see sex workers walking around on the streets during the day anymore. They’ve become more prudent, since prostitution now carries a 5,000 yuan fine,” Zhang said.
Apart from the one-on-one service, a standardized sex service chain has become attached to local hotels scattered throughout the city. Hotel managers help their patrons to recruit sex workers and deliver them directly to designated rooms.
“The sex workers in hotels are almost as common as waitresses. They charge up to 1,000 yuan, which is much more expensive than what it used to cost,” Zhang said.
An obvious effect of the crackdown has been a three- to five-times increase in the cost of sexual services. Zhang said his favorite prostitute is a migrant worker who didn’t enter the industry until the recent crackdown drove its prices much higher.
Even Yuan Baocheng, the mayor of Dongguan, said he could never hope to guarantee any effort to stamp out the city’s sexual underground, the Chongqing Youth Daily reported.