© Owen Wells
In market china the sex industry is back. And it caters to all kinds of buyers – from the women who sell to migrant labourers, to the hostesses who are the concluding rite to a business deal, to the second wives of officials and the ultra-rich.
It might be illegal to buy as well as sell sex, but it is the women who are fined, re-educated and put to unpaid work. And with law enforcement agencies drawing funds from fines - even, in some cases, organising prostitution - the policing of the industry is deeply compromised.
Women are at risk of arrest and they are at risk of disease. With safe sex almost unheard of and clients willing to pay for no condom, STDs are rapidly on the rise. Private clinics and quack remedies have appeared - some offering cures for HIV and AIDS - a massive threat that, after scandals and denials, the Chinese government is belatedly acknowledging.
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