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The Seamier Side of Hong Kong’s Nightlife – Part 2

This entry is continued from yesterday’s entry in which I quoted some statistics, talked about where the prostitutes in Hong Kong come from and what some of the issues are. Today I discuss why prostitution exists, who if anyone is to blame and raise the idea that there’s little that can be done to end prostitution. Which leaves the question: what’s best for the sex workers?

To me the problem is primarily an economic one. If someone can earn, in a month, more than a year’s wages in their home country, why are people surprised that they do it? The real criminals are those in the women’s home countries who through corruption, favoritism and other actions keep people from earning a living wage. I won’t even mention the hypocrisy of politicians decrying moral decline while doing everything in their power to protect their economic self interest which creates the atmosphere they are railing against.

Also, there are those who bring women into Hong Kong, promising jobs as waitresses, dancers, or hotel clerks only to reveal the truth after they arrive carrying a large debt for transportation and other costs. These are the most reprehensible of those who profit from the sex trade, yet they are basically untouchable.

There will always be prostitutes as long as men are male and women are female. Sex workers ply their trade in the most economically developed countries. For some, prostitution may be a conscious choice, though I suspect these are few and they are most likely working very close to the top of the food chain as very expensive part-time call girls and escorts. Most women are sex workers for the money because of what the money can do for them.

Is there an answer? I have no idea. Hong Kong has always had prostitutes. I’m sure you recall, “The World of Susie Wong,” and Hong Kong’s status as a liberty port over the years, especially during the Vietnam War. I do know it is less visible here than in places like Thailand, the Philippines or India. In the last 25 years, I’ve noticed that as the people of Hong Kong have improved their economic lot, Wanchai has changed – fewer “Girlie” bars, more restaurants and pubs.

I believe this is a good thing. I don’t believe that prostitution is evil or even should be eliminated. I just wish there was some way to make it possible for sex workers to be able to choose their occupation rather than have it forced on them by economic or other circumstances and that they had some protection under the law from those that prey on them – and I’m not talking about their customers.