Temple Street Night Market. This is a favourite spot for tourists visiting Hong Kong. However, many of them are unaware that Temple Street is a centre for the sex industry in Hong Kong. More recently due to police clamping down on illegal activities in the area many of the sex workers are much less visible- unless you know where to look.
Unusual coloured lights sometimes denote the presence of a sex worker’s apartment. As the old shopkeeper working on the ground floor opposite this apartment said- “who else would have a blue light in their living room?” He also said there were many other apartments like it in this area. However, he did not mind as he said it mean there were “always pretty girls walking around”.
Shanghai Street , Portland Street (and Wan Chai) all represent areas in Hong Kong where the sex industry is highly visible. There are many massage parlours and saunas in these areas where sex is for sale. As well as sex workers you can often see pimps, triads and police all patrolling the streets.
Here and at many other hotels in Wan Chai you can rent rooms by the hour.
This is the front door to a sex worker’s apartment. It is in a normal residential block of a busy street on Hong Kong Island. There is no gate at the entrance of the building. This is a preferred arrangement by sex workers as it means clients do not have to ring the buzzer to get in the building. This is important as it means they do not annoy the neighbours by pressing the wrong buzzer late at night. The neighbours in this block know that a sex worker lives and works here. They do not mind as long as no leaflets or cards etc. are left lying around the common entrance hall.
Inside the flat it looks very normal except for the red flourescent lights and a couple of calendars showing scantily clad females. The flat is very clean and tidy.
This Hong Kong sex worker is in her early twenties. She is wearing a school uniform style outfit as some of her clients like this. She spoke good English and was very polite. She meets most of her clients through two well known websites in Hong Kong. If you had met her on the street when she was not wearing her work clothes she would just look like a typical Hong Kong twenty something year old.
This table was next to the bed in the sex worker’s apartment. Amongst the tissues and creams there is a box containing many condoms. Typically sex workers in Hong Kong will insist that their clients use condoms. As well as protecting their health, the sex workers know that if they are sick they cannot work, so it makes good business sense. For migrant sex workers the position is different. As they often work underground they are in a particularly vulnerable position. They often have no access to help and are desperate to earn money to pay for their apartment and travel arrangements to Hong Kong. Therefore, if a client insists on no condom they sometimes acquiesce. This is an especially worrying trend as HIV/AIDS is rising rapidly on the mainland.
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