Brothels are opening next to kindergartens and husbands are being propositioned by prostitutes as they make their way home to their families in the neighbourhood most affected by the influx of mainland vice girls. A worrying picture of the effect the unregulated sex trade has on west Kowloon emerged yesterday after the South China Morning Post published an expose on how prostitutes are being smuggled into Hong Kong with the help of corrupt mainland officials. Three-month visitor visas are being sold in poor western provinces for between $9,000 and $23,000, allowing girls as young as 15 to cross the border to work as prostitutes. The effects of the trade are most keenly felt in Shamshuipo, where residents two years ago took to the streets to demand a government crackdown on the rampant vice trade. Since then they say the situation has only gotten worse, despite vigorous police action that has led to a steep rise in the number of women arrested and deported for prostitution-related offences this year. Shamshuipo District Council member Leung Lai said residents were finding brothels opening next door to kindergartens. Mr Leung said security in the district was getting worse because of the proliferation of the vice trade. 'The syndicates are putting building passwords in their newspaper advertisements, which allows anyone access,' he said. Mr Leung said triad gangs scrambling for business were scaring residents and chasing away tourists. A record 5,390 mainland sex workers were arrested in the first 10 months of the year, 70 per cent more than last year's total of 3,057. Legislator Frederick Fung Kin-kee, who led the 2000 demonstration march of residents angered by government inaction, admitted the problem had not been solved. 'I can't really blame the police this time because they have tried very hard to crack down on the vice trade,' he said. 'It's just that new faces keep popping up no matter how many prostitutes the police arrest.' Mr Fung said the number of prostitutes in the Shamshuipo district had increased despite the rising number of arrests. Their presence is embarrassing residents. Mr Fung said: 'Husbands are being propositioned by the prostitutes while innocent women are being harassed by strangers, not to mention the bad influence all this is having on local children.' He said the government should launch a public consultation to get every sector in society to discuss the issue. 'This problem needs to be tackled with a comprehensive policy,' Mr Fung said. The Post's investigation was highlighted on yesterday's Backchat show on RTHK Radio Three. On the programme, legislator Cyd Ho, of The Frontier, called for the vice industry to be regulated.