Dongguan, China – Earlier this year when the government launched a da huang, or “sweeping yellow” police crackdown against the sex trade, thousands of hotels, saunas, karaoke bars, and massage parlours in this bustling city of about seven million were shut down.
Known as China’s “Sin City”, prostitution once thrived unabated here with an estimated 300,000 sex workers plying their trade. But authorities in Dongguan have attempted to eradicate prostitution.
Yet, many taxi drivers here know where to find hotels that offer sex services. One such driver Dan Linchun admitted they get small tips – $8-$11 – for finding clients. Taxi drivers no longer keep business cards or fliers that list prostitution services, he said, adding quickly however that women’s numbers remain on their phones.
After the crackdown, many women were forced to leave Dongguan. While the move has thwarted prostitution, the practice hasn’t completely ended.
“Now, instead of going to a massage parlour and getting what you need there, you have to get a room in a hotel first and then call a girl,” Dan said.
Most of the sex workers are migrants in search of better paying jobs. Some work at factories during the day and as call girls at night.
All aspects of sex work are illegal in China and the punishment for being involved in sexual services is 10 to 15 days of administrative detention, or a fine of up to $800.
Names have been changed because of the sensitivity of the topic