Target sex trade bosses

Updated: 2014-02-12 07:47

(China Daily)

  Print Mail Large Medium  Small 分享按钮 0

After China Central Television reported on the rampant sex trade in Dongguan, Guangdong province, the local police, employing a reported 6,000-strong force in all, launched a crackdown on suspected entertainment venues and arrested 67 persons for further investigation.

But as well as praise, the crackdown has also generated some concern that it has targeted the prostitutes but seldom those behind them. It needs to be made clear that as a basic principle, those who have organized and run the illegal sex industry, not the sex workers, are being targeted, says a Beijing News editorial.

Most reports about previous crackdowns on the sex industry show they have focused on the women working in the industry; and typically the media have accompanied their reports with images of policemen controlling scantily clad young women as if they were dangerous criminals. The recent CCTV reports on Dongguan followed this tradition.

This might suit the media and police as such images attract more eyeballs. However, these women are also victims of the industry as many young women in the industry have been coerced and most are exploited by pimps and those who control the sex industry.

Prostitutes also have personal dignity and legal rights and it is improper to broadcast their images.

While they are the visible face of the sex industry, prostitutes are also on the lowest rung of the industry ladder, behind them are those faceless organizers that run the industry, which is a lucrative revenue stream for violent gangs, which will often buy the support of the local police.

In fact, in many cases where power has been involved with criminal gangs, local officials or police officers have proved to be protectors or bosses in the illegal sex industry.

Thus it is urgent that the focus of the present crackdown is shifted from the sex workers to those behind them.

The police authorities in Dongguan have promised they will do so; we hope this time they can honor that promise.