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Hong Kong sex workers fight long arm of the law

Published on Aug 16, 2012 1:56 PM
A pedestrian walks past pink neon lights where prices for prostitutes are displayed according to their ethnic origins in Hong Kong. -- PHOTO: AFP

HONG KONG (AFP) - In a Hong Kong tower block prostitutes in one-room brothels sell themselves for as little as US$40 (S$50) a time and are often exploited by triad gangsters and abusive clients.

But an increasing number of sex workers, particularly migrants from mainland China, are complaining about the behaviour of the police supposed to enforce the law, with some officers accused of helping themselves to free sexual services.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of sex workers ply their trade in one-room brothels, massage parlours, saunas and bars throughout the southern Chinese city, where prostitution is legal but soliciting is not.

In an anonymous 20-storey tower block close to a popular shopping district, men of all ages take the lift to the top of the building, avoiding eye contact with each other as they circle down the dingy stairwells, ringing at doors where signs say either "welcome" or "wait".

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