So, the opportunity to visit these brothels is quite limited due to security measures, especially after police arrested two male prostitutes in a hotel in Ho Chi Minh City last month in one of the first such cases publicly announced by local media.
Luckily, Tuoi Tre journalists were allowed to visit a few such businesses – meant to satisfy the needs of both women and gays – thanks to the assistance of ‘social peers’ who are officers of State programs intended to prevent the spread of sexually transmitted diseases that have close connections with the brothel owners.
In return Tuoi Tre pledged to protect their identity.
Districts 3, 8, Phu Nhuan, Tan Binh, and Tan Phu have brothels with male sex workers.
They have many regular clients who are mostly single, divorced women and even elderly women. Normal price ranges from VND200,000 – 500,000 (US$10 – 25) per session, though as much as US$100 was charged once.
A number of African men have also come to the city to work as prostitutes in parks such as Le Thi Rieng in District 1, Hoa Binh in District 5, and Gia Dinh in Phu Nhuan District.
All of the brothels are disguised as barber shops, spa and massage parlors, or make-up shops. The places are ‘decorated’ with a couple of swiveling and collapsible chairs in the front hall, but these are rarely used as guests enter and walk straight to rooms in the back.
Each brothel has rooms for at least ten male prostitutes as well as rooms to ‘receive guests’. A reception room has minimal facilities, such as a pillow, a mattress, a light, towels, a shelf to store gel tubes and condoms, and a fan.
At a brothel deep down an alley off Truong Chinh Street in Tan Binh, the owner agreed to allow Tuoi Tre to have a brief look inside his facility. During the visit, six to seven men were sleeping on the floor, while others played cards on the first floor, where they queue up for guests’ selection.
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