Thursday, January 4, 2001

Vietnam battles the sex trade

HANOI — Vietnam wants desperately not to become the next big destination for sexual tourists, but is having trouble controlling the sex trade.

In the past six years, the police have shut down 11,000 brothels.

Last year, authorities sent more than 1,000 prostitutes from Ho Chi Minh City to "re-education camps." That is what the government calls its programs to give prostitutes training and skills they can use in other industries.

Education programs to try to discourage young people from entering the sex trade have been implemented.

But the sex trade continues to grow, making the government afraid Ho Chi Minh City will become the next Bangkok, a place for sexual tourism.

And while the Vietnam government wants to reduce an industry that is a moral problem and tends to victimize vulnerable members of society, the concern is also about health.

The UN has estimated that 200,000 Vietnamese will be diagnosed with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, in the next five years.

So far, most of the HIV-AIDS cases in Vietnam are intravenous drug users. The government wants to reduce the risk of people becoming infected through the sex trade.

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Created: January 11, 2001
Last modified: September 1, 2001
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