• Tue
  • Dec 23, 2014
  • Updated: 6:08am

Dongguan sex trade boom fuelled by exports slump

Police crackdown surprised no one as the former industrial hub's steamy sex trade took off just as its exports went off the boil in 2009

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 12 February, 2014, 5:29pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 13 February, 2014, 4:19pm

It took two CCTV exposés to prompt Guangdong officials to crack down on the sex trade in Dongguan, but the city has been a hotbed of vice for years.

Once an industrial hub of the Pearl River Delta, the sex trade took off as its exports began to lose steam in 2009.

Video: Dongguan prostitution exposed by CCTV

Despite occasional crackdowns, business thrived, and the term "Dongguan-style" even made its ways into the lexicon of the prostitution business.

Before the financial crisis, businessmen from the mainland and overseas thronged the more than 100 swank hotels spread across the city, cutting deals with the delta's many manufacturers. But when contracts dried up, no one had a reason to visit.

"Average occupancy rates of high-end hotels have dropped to between 30 and 40 per cent," said Bob Yao, who has connections to Dongguan's sex operators. "They don't care what kind of business you do inside the hotels."


A night's stay in a two-bed deluxe room at the Silverland Hotel, the city's oldest five-star hotel, costs about 250 yuan (HK$320).

Women factory workers - some laid off, others who left willingly - provide the service.

"A young prostitute can get between 100 and 500 yuan for each transaction. It's easy for them to make between 20,000 and 50,000 yuan a month," Yao said. "Sex hotels are everywhere. If a female migrant worker lost her job at a factory, she could join the industry."

Dali Wang, a hotel manager in Dalang township who is familiar with the sex industry, estimated the city had as many as 250,000 prostitutes at one time.

Previous crackdowns only forced hoteliers and syndicate operators to bribe more powerful officials for protection.

It’s called the Dongguan-style ISO standard and is known by all pimps

The underground trade grew so formalised in recent years some insiders boasted about the uniformity in how prostitutes were trained and money distributed among various parties.

"It's called the Dongguan-style ISO standard and is well-known among all Chinese pimps," Wang said, referring to the International Organisation for Standardisation.

Part of the appeal for patrons was they knew what they were getting, Wang said.

"Clients feel safe in Dongguan," he said. "They don't need to worry about being victims of a scam or a game at the hotels. Most high-end hotels will even pay and bribe officials to set guests free if they are caught at the hotel during police raids."

Dividing up the profits was also well organised. "For example, if the customer pays 800 yuan, the girl gets 300 or 400, and the pimp 50, while the hotel operator gets the rest and 200 yuan is reserved to bribe officials," Wang said.

"Higher-end hotels have stronger networks of senior authorities, from police station heads to senior officials at the municipal or provincial level."

Despite the latest crackdown, the trade may return, Wang said.

"It's a big blow to Dongguan but we might see it come back unless they can root out bribes to officials or close the hotels."

Video: CCTV news report on sex trade in Dongguan



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South Korea, use to have prostitutes displayed in showcases of the shops wearing bride dresses in the late 90,s. However, in the past 15 years, situation has been changed. Their economy is stable, they can have weep paid jobs, differences between genders has been reduced, which apparently resulted in disappearance of prostitutes or sex trade.
In China, many girls wish to become sudden rich, this leaves them with no other option. May be some factory workers will become prostitutes when they are laid off but high likely the girls comes to this city with full and clear intention to work as prostitutes. They know what they are doing and they choose to do so because they could generate quick and more money.
Corrupt officials are not only to blame here. We must look at whole system. We must balance the gender difference first. We must educate people, that being a poor is better than being a rich prostitute. Eating one time hard earn is much more better than eating 3 times a day with your sold body money.
Once we could educate people, we could correct our system, this trade will not have any chance to survive.
Further, president Xi jinping is trying hard to keep communist party under one umbrella while he is fully aware that those who sympathies with Bo xilai are still everywhere. Not to mention that Dongguan official are of Bo xilai side, he needs to eliminate them.
Its regrettable prostitutes are always the easy target for society. They sell something that they own - their body, while those clowns in the financial industries and politicians who steal and cheat other peoples money by charging ridiculous fees even after loosing everything for their clients still got the guts to ask tax payers to bail them out, live freely without consequences, what a twisted world we live in.
The rich and powerful will always get away with all sort of ****, while the poor will still be punish even though the are only selling something they own - their bodies.
prostitution are growing rampant in china nowadays...the reason is? too many corrupt local officials and police...they are greedy and easily being bribe...
It's not possible for a few hundred million floating population to be "float" looking for work without a measurable percentage making some money in the sex trade. This would be happening even if there were no corrupt officials.
At some point, China will have urbanized, the labor surplus will mostly be gone; and most of the sex trade will disappear with it. We'll know that this has happened when the ayi cost enough that only a few can afford them.

Move the wasted energy to team sports...unless we are telling the world we are too corrupt to convert ourselves...


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