After completing this section, you will:
- understand the dynamics of prositution of China
- be familiar with certain situations in which a person may be solicited
China’s sex industry has been expanding at a rapid rate since economic and social reforms that began in 1978--although it is illegal under the Communist rule established in China in 1949. Some people blame this on the decimation of traditional Chinese moral values, but prostitution had always been flourishing throughout China's long history. It has been estimated that the sex industry may account for at least ten percent of China’s GDP.
There are different tiers of prostitutes in China ranging in price, background, and the type of clientele they serve. The majority of prostitutes are relatively poor women with little educational background, offering their services in exchange for various sums of money in various forms. Most of the women in the city come from the countryside and are there to support their families back at home--whether saving to support their parents in retirement or putting their sibling or child through school so they will have better opportunities in the future. The income they make in a single night that they split with the establishment or pimp may be equivalent to what they make in a month back home. The majority work for two years before moving on to something else in their lives. The lowest tier may serve migrant workers often in seedy massage parlors with pink lights.
Higher end prostitutes may be models or from Eastern Europe and tend to work independently; they can be found in high-end neighborhoods such as Jianwai Soho in Beijing as the trade is profitable enough for them to live and work there. Some executives and professionals may pay thousands of yuan for tickets to exclusive events in which they can mingle with these women and work out some type of arrangement that is satisfactory to all parties. Prostitutes and hustlers can be found all over China, especially in high-traffic areas such as Shanghai’s Nanjing Road.
Foreigners visiting China may be offered the services by pimps and people they send out, often under the guise of a “massage.” These solicitors may be aggressive; if there's no interest, firmly refuse and completely ignore them.