US warns on wave of foreign male prostitutes

The Standard – Hong Kong
Friday, February 27, 2009

Growing numbers of male prostitutes from around the region are coming to Hong Kong to work, according to a United States government report.

The latest US State Department report on human rights warns “an increasing number of men” are offering sex-for-sale services in the city.

A local support group for male sex workers says they are paid between HK$1,000 and HK$5,000 for their services and that most of their clients are men.

Referring to the sex trade in general, the US report says: “The overwhelming majority were women, although an increasing number of young men came to work as homosexual prostitutes.

“Nearly all trafficking victims initially go to Hong Kong willingly to engage in prostitution.

“Most come from rural areas of the mainland, Thailand or the Philippines on 14-day tourist visas.

“While many go on their own, some are lured by criminal syndicates with promises of financial rewards, while some face circumstances of debt bondage.”

The report also cites Macau as a transit and destination point for women trafficked for the purposes of sexual servitude.

“Authorities believe that Chinese, Russian and Thai criminal syndicates are involved in trafficking women to the SAR for prostitution, after which victims are passed on to local crime syndicates.

“Victims were primarily from mainland China, Mongolia, Russia, Eastern Europe, Vietnam and Thailand.”

A Hong Kong government spokesman said it is determined to bring human traffickers to justice, describing the problem as “transnational in nature.” Last year, the Immigration Department arrested 3,651 sex workers who were not Hong Kong residents. In 2007, the number was 3,787. There was no breakdown on gender.

Midnight Blue, a local support network for male sex workers, said there has been a rise in the number of male sex workers coming from the mainland following the relaxation of travel restrictions. Others came from Thailand.

A spokesman for Midnight Blue, who identified himself as Tommy Chan, said more male prostitutes are likely to come to Hong Kong because of the bad economic situation.

Link to original story on the Hong Kong Standard

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