Stories from Asia. Prostitution. Part 2. China

What happened in Vietnam was crazy, and I thought I will never again be approached on so many occasions to have paid sex. But then I went to Shanghai…

My friend and I were planning for a long time to visit Shanghai and, when we finally did it, we booked a room near the famous Bund area.

We checked the Bund during daytime, but we planned to go back in the evening, to stroll on Nanjing Road and take pictures with the glamorous Oriental Pearl in the background. It was in that evening when the craziness happened again. In a few hours time, more than 20 pimps and prostitutes stopped us and presented their offers to us.

It came as a shock to me to get stopped for so many times, but imagine my friend H., who is a very conservative Muslim and had never experienced such a thing before. He just stopped, called his friend on the phone and started to freak out about the weird things he was witnessing.

A bit later, after getting used with the situation, we would tell them we cannot take such services, as our wives would not agree. Nevertheless, they would continue to persuade us. The prices advertised by them were 100RMB for oral sex and 200RMB for “normal” sex. However, as I was told by others, once you take the bite and go inside, you will actually end up paying much more, around 600 RMB.

Now, every time I walk on Nanjing Road I experience the same thing over and over again.


A guy that I know told me that close to our school’s campus there are at least 4 brothels; except for them being targeted at the students from my university, these brothels probably also aim at attracting the youth from the other university located nearby – Fudan University. He told me that during his studenthood he didn’t refuse himself occasional visits to those places.


Another guy, a foreigner this time, told me that living for a longer period of time in the same district of Shanghai can bring unexpected benefits. He is now charged a locals price – 300 RMB – for a full-option service offered by the massage parlor located nearby his place. Usually foreigners are charged more for this kind of services.  


Not too long ago I was visiting the Zhangjiajie National Park, the scenic place where the movie Avatar was shot. The tour that we purchased offered us accommodation in a hotel inside the park. The hotel had a massage parlor at the ground floor and my friend and I decided to go for it.  

Now one should know that in China is not quite like in Vietnam or Thailand, where a large majority of the massage parlors offer sex services, so we didn’t know what to expect. However, the tension didn’t last long, as the first thing the lady asked was whether we also want sex. It was funny for a second, because when we didn’t get the meaning of what she was asking, she made herself understood through very clear gesturing. We refused and, contrary to our expectations, she did not insist.

Later, while being massaged, I had a casual talk with the lady who earlier wanted to offer us paid sex. She told me she is married, but her husband is not at home for most of the time, as he works for a construction company in Shenzhen. She lives with their 19 years old son. She asked me a lot of questions about foreigners and their lifestyle.  

Knowing that I have a nasty muscle soreness after all the hiking from that day, she used a magic cream to make the pain from one of my legs disappear. She told me that I should pay 20 RMB more in case I want my other leg healed too, I decided that I could live with the pain.

40 minutes passed from the hour I paid and the masseuse decided to leave. The conversation was nice, but the massage was bad, so I did not to protest.


Now that I mentioned about hotels, I should add that for most of the times when I stayed in hotels in China I had leaflets with naked girls slipped through the door. A phone call and somebody would have come to my room.


Did you think that the locals are the only ones to practice prostitution in China? No, not really actually. A lot of foreigners do it too, but for larger amounts of money.

The places where you will most likely meet foreign girls practicing prostitution are the KTV bars (Karaoke bars). The KTV bars are very popular in many asian countries; people would go there, take a private room properly equipped for karaoke parties and have fun with their friends or families.

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Many KTV bars would also hire girls that clients can pay in order to attend their party and sing, drink or dance with. These girls are known as KTV girls. Some of these girls (but not all of them) will also offer sexual services, if paid a separate fee. Along with the local girls, many KTV bars have foreign girls too, as that would attract clients willing to spend more money. Most of these girls come from former soviet states;

As for the foreign guys, they are mostly involved in homosexual prostitution and, as far as I heard, they are paid very good money, considerably more than the female prostitutes.


Do you remember what I wrote in my previous article, how I didn’t hear one single thing about prostitution in my first 5 months in Nanjing? Well, that changed in my 6th month there, when my Scottish friend told me that I must have been deaf or blind, since I didn’t know about that brothel on Shanghai Road.


In my next article I will talk about Nepal.

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