About Careers Internship MedBlog Contact us
Medindia LOGIN REGISTER

In Singapore, Sex Business is Booming

by Kathy Jones on March 6, 2011 at 9:22 PM
Font : A-A+

 In Singapore, Sex Business is Booming

A middle-aged man with a balding pate and wispy white goatee greets people walking by with a constant refrain outside a harmless-looking two-storey terrace house.

"You want to see my girl? Come in, come in!" he exhorts every man in sight, pointing to skimpily-clad Asian prostitutes waiting in a softly-lit sitting room along a back street in Geylang, Singapore's red-light district.


The tout says more than 50 customers patronise his business daily.

"Our customers are international, anybody can come as long as they can pay," he says, brushing aside a reporter's suggestion that the police might not approve of his operation.

"We're legal!" he scoffs loudly.

Despite its prudish reputation -- the government still bans magazines like Playboy and Penthouse -- Singapore allows prostitution to thrive in strictly designated areas, and Geylang is the largest and most famous.

Brothels operating out of houses -- one calls itself "Heaven on Earth" -- operate in the district alongside budget hotels, sidewalk cafes, community associations and even Buddhist temples.

Despite the presence of legal prostitution, foreign women on short-term visitor passes also ply their trade on the streets and lanes of Geylang, and there seems to be enough business for everyone.

More than a fifth of the island state's population of five million are foreigners, the majority of them blue-collar and manual workers.

And one million tourists a month now visit Singapore thanks to a booming casino industry.

The local sex trade came under the spotlight in June last year when the US State Department downgraded Singapore in its Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report.

The report said some women from China, the Philippines and Thailand were tricked into coming to the city-state with promises of legitimate employment and then coerced into the sex trade after arrival.

Singapore authorities issued an indignant reply, saying their efforts to curb trafficking had not slackened and asking the US government to look at its own immigration record before commenting on other countries' situations.

In Geylang's licensed brothels, customers pay an average of Sg$50 ($38) for sex inside cramped cubicles, according to operators who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Their primary customers are the masses of testosterone-driven guest workers from China, Bangladesh and Southeast Asia.

Business is best on weekends when hordes of foreign men on their day off throng its narrow lanes looking for fun.

Like other businesses in Singapore, the sex trade has clear rules.

Brothels can only hire Malaysian, Thai and Chinese girls between the ages of 21 and 27, said one tout.

Prostitutes are also required to make customers wear condoms and report for monthly medical check-ups, he added.

Streetwalker Dan Dan, a Beijing native who refused to disclose her real name, said an increased presence of plainclothes police was deterring customers from taking up her 100-dollar "guaranteed good" service.

Foreign women like Dan Dan who work freelance in the sex trade and bring customers to motel rooms cannot be arrested unless they are caught offering their services out in the street, or violate immigration and other laws.

For a first offence, Dan Dan faces a fine of up to Sg$1,000 if she is caught soliciting in public, with subsequent convictions carrying higher fines and potential jail terms.

But Dan Dan, who has been working Geylang's alleys since she came to Singapore three months ago, said she was willing to brave the consequences.

"The money's good on busy days," she said.

Local women's rights activist Braema Mathi advocates protection of prostitutes in Singapore and closer regulation of the industry.

"All we want is for the women to be protected and not judge them for the work that they have decided to take on," she told AFP.

"We believe that one of the better ways to protect women is to ensure that they work in licensed brothels, where there is a fee structure and condoms," Mathi added.

"This way the women can be protected from exploitation and from succumbing to diseases."

With a regulated sex industry, Singapore authorities can turn their attention to women forced into prostitution, she said.

"We see more women in the trade and definitely not all of them are willing."

Source: AFP

News A-Z
A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
What's New on Medindia
World Heart Day in 2022- Use Heart for Every Heart
Anemia among Indian Women and Children Remains a Cause of Concern- National Family Health Survey-5
H1N1 Influenza Prevention in Children: What Parents Need to Know
View all
Recommended Reading
News Archive
Date
Category
News Category

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Sex Facts Prostitution: Fresh Stakes in the Oldest Trade Sexual Intercourse Facts Safe Sex Top Ten Trivial Sex Facts Top Ten Sex Tips for Men Sex Numbers 

Most Popular on Medindia

Blood Pressure Calculator Blood Donation - Recipients Noscaphene (Noscapine) Find a Hospital Diaphragmatic Hernia A-Z Drug Brands in India Turmeric Powder - Health Benefits, Uses & Side Effects Color Blindness Calculator Vent Forte (Theophylline) Selfie Addiction Calculator
This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use

Sexual Problem

Consult an Expert

×

In Singapore, Sex Business is Booming Personalised Printable Document (PDF)

Please complete this form and we'll send you a personalised information that is requested

You may use this for your own reference or forward it to your friends.

Please use the information prudently. If you are not a medical doctor please remember to consult your healthcare provider as this information is not a substitute for professional advice.

Name *

Email Address *

Country *

Areas of Interests