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Inside, a line of young to middle-aged men queue for the elevator. My translator and I are the only women around. The elevator doors open to reveal a hallway spilling over with pink light, mirrored walls, and a thin strand of Christmas lights.
Most doors are decorated with stickers of sexy anime-esque women, some door space is more practically put to use with image-driven lists of what is not allowed in a room: scissors, knives, cameras, backpacks, etc. Hong Kong is, from time to time, referenced by the lascivious faction of the international online community, as a hotspot for sex—whether via a night out in Lan Kwai Fong, the streets of Yau Ma Tei, or miss Sites that offer commentary on traveling and living the good life abroad like A Farang Abroad and Dime Travel praise the city as rife with sexual opportunity.
Not only do you have whores, but great restaurants, bars, night markets and many sites worth seeing. There are myriad ways the laws are skirted, from massage establishments with unadvertised services, to bars where honorary female employees have rather fluid roles, to put it lightly. Another area of concern is the enforcement of sex work laws.
These laws may have been conceived of to protect sex workers, but their negative effects have rendered them outdated according to Zi Teng, a prominent Hong Kong rights group for sex workers. Regardless of their effectiveness, in locales like the Fuji Building these laws are not irrelevant. Her cloudy contacts match the dreamlike, opaque lighting in the room behind her. The room looks clean and well-mirrored. She speaks Mandarin, not Cantonese.
She shyly smiles, then apologizes, explaining that she does not think her boss would approve. The floors become progressively less decorative and less busy as we make our way down. We knock on 15 doors, speaking to 10 women as we descend. On the 10th floor of the Fuji Building, a man in the hallway seems to be paying closer attention than the rest to our attempt to interview a sex worker. What are you doing? In Cantonese, our escort tells the cleaning lady in the elevator to make sure we exit the building. We do. But exploitation is a complex concept.
Lee, a five-year veteran volunteer at Zi Teng, says what is happening in the Fuji Building may not necessarily be exploitation in the obvious sense. Most women who interact with Zi Teng do work for themselves, but many of them would prefer not to be legally obligated to be isolated.
The way things are now, these arrangements break the law. Lee says that sex workers routinely seem to prefer working with the tri—a Hong Kong crime syndicate, though they are often involved in perfectly legal business operations as well—over the police. Zi Teng says that despite improvements, the mistrust runs back decades, so the process will take time. For Zi Teng, as with other groups that advocate for sex worker rights, the ultimate goal is the decriminalization of sex work in Hong Kong. The immediate goal is to push lawmakers to write ordinances that more comprehensively lay out the law, stating clear reasoning that remains separated from stigmatizing morality in court.
The current laws do not take into the inherent danger of going at it alone in the industry of sex work. Sex workers and rights groups like Zi Teng are also advocating for an independent mechanism for reporting police action. Zi Teng would like support groups to be able to report cases on behalf of individuals. Other social rights groups working with domestic helpers are now pushing for the same thing—nudging the goal toward possible legislation.
When sex workers accept the risks of being charged with involvement in a vice establishment, or prefer a relationship with triad members to police officers, there is a blatant need for regulations that will more accurately address the concerns of the so-called phoenix women themselves. Crossword Newsletters. TECH Disinformation. Viola Gaskell. Updated Nov.How to find prostitutes in hong kong
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