Police arrested 67 people and shut down 12 entertainment venues in a massive raid late Sunday night after CCTV revealed several hotels in Dongguan, China’s ‘capital of sex’, were involved in illegal sex trade.
The Global Times reports that local police station heads who were in charge of the districts where the entertainment venues were operating have been suspended as well.
Undercover CCTV reporters went to hotels in five areas of Dongguan, a city which has been infamous for its large scale illegal sex industry for over a decade. The video taken by a hidden camera showed hotel managers organizing young women to appear in front of the reporter for selection.
The selected women would presumably offer sex services for fees ranging from hundreds to thousands of yuan. The video also showed similar “beauty show” activities taking place in KTV rooms. In one KTV room, two girls danced naked for customers.
“You just lie down there and the lady will serve you all around,” one female manager told a reporter in the video, referring to the hotels’ sexual bath services.
Dongguan, Guangdong province, has been dubbed China’s “capital of sex”, a moniker which the city’s mayor Yuan Baocheng has vehemently denounced.
In 2010, Dongguan police came under fire for parading sex workers down the streets in handcuffs as a way to humiliate them. The Ministry of Public Security ordered a stop to the practice, calling on authorities to act in a ‘rational, calm and civilized manner.’
Sociologist Li Yinhe says that China’s current anti-prostitution laws do nothing to help the control illegal sex trade and that sometimes police are reluctant to respond to reports.
“It allows criminal organizations to take control of the industry because the government chooses to ignore it,” said Li.
A CCTV reporter allegedly called police twice to report prostitution in two separate hotels before Sunday night’s bust, but no officers showed up.
Some have called for special “sex zones” to be set up in China, while Human Rights Watch recommended that the government legalize solicitation for safety reasons, as many sex workers have stopped carrying around condoms and birth control as not to appear suspicious.
Li said that the biggest obstacle in doing so is attitudes towards morality. “Legalizing prostitution is not permitted to be discussed.”