While most industrialists can be seen craving for more and more stimulus packages amid the ongoing recession, solicited sex in Malaysia is one sector that seems far from going into a tailspin.
Sources in the local prostitution scene say that solicited sex is going through a boom.
They have revealed that they raked in more than RM3.2 billion last year, which is just the earnings of sex workers, not including those of pimps and other spin-offs.
Statistics from the international non-governmental organisation, Coalition Against the Trafficking of Women, suggest that there are about 150,000 prostitutes working in Malaysia, with over 10,000 in the Klang Valley.
According to information from the women rescued by local women's aid NGO Tenaganita, a prostitute usually works a seven-day week, charging RM150 an hour.
"Serving an average of eight clients a day, she ends up making RM1,200 daily and possibly RM36,000 a month," the New Strait Times quoted Aegile Fernandez, anti-human trafficking coordinator of the NGO who has had experience making women escape the sex industry for more than 20 years, as saying.
"But that is just full-time sex workers who enter the trade willingly. If the girls are forced into the trade via human trafficking, she gets nothing except a traumatic experience," Aegile added.
The syndicate running the brothels is said to usually have up to 100 girls under them, meaning that they could rake in about RM120,000 a day and a whopping RM3.6 million a month.
Information from pimps operating in the country suggests that Malaysia has hundreds of such syndicates, each operating several brothels in their designated areas. Many brothels in Malaysia double as "health centres" offering massage services.
JJ, a pimp for more than 10 years, says that clients are willing to pay from RM60 to RM100 for an hour of massage, followed by an additional RM150 for sex.
"Prostitutes who double as massage ladies also get a fee from their handlers for massage services, usually about RM20 per customer," JJ says.
So, in addition to as much as RM36,000 monthly from sex alone, a prostitute can add on another RM9,000 for offering "half services", bringing her monthly untaxed income to a whopping RM45,000.
"Don't forget their RM200 a day wages for massaging an average of 10 customers. That's a legitimate RM5,200 a month or RM62,400 a year. They can choose to pay tax on that, but most don't," says JJ.
He has also revealed that each sex worker pays RM3,000 a month to pimps "as tax or rent for using our centres to do business and for protection from aggressive customers."
According to him, prostitution is a recession-proof business.
"Things didn't slow down for us during the 1997 Asian financial crisis or any of the recessions before that. Sex, like food, is a necessity," he said.