We told you yesterday that Dongguan’s crackdown on the sex trade might be costing the city RMB 50 billion ($8.25 billion). Now, it seems that the crackdown is also hitting the sex trade’s tertiary industries.
One insider with connections to the sex trade said at least 200,000 jobs would be affected by the government clampdown. This includes not only the obvious sex workers, intermediaries and “masseurs”, but also those industries that grow because of the trade: taxi drivers, hotel owners, restaurateurs and grocery owners, Hong Kong newspaper Ta Kung Pao reported on February 12.
At least 70% of the city’s taxi drivers are making a living from late night Johns, fresh from their “rendezvous,” Lao Wang, a local taxi driver, told the newspaper. A taxi driver can receive up to several hundred yuan in kickbacks by driving a John to a designated hotel or club. Now the midnight cab rides, and resulting kickbacks, are gone and drivers have to endure a long, slow night. “The night is almost through, I haven’t even had one customer,” one driver said.
Given the sensitive times, the cancellation of hotel reservations unsurprisingly spiked.
A Xiaoshang, a Dongguan street where throngs of xiaojie (a euphemism for a sex worker) used to congregate, is now an echoey shadow of itself. Grocery shop owners reminisce about the good old days when the xiaojies busily purchased products necessary for their trade.
Home page photo credit: Wen Wei Po