The go-go days of Dongguan’s red light district might be over but it doesn’t mean the sex industry has disappeared. Rather, the trade has gone underground.
‘You choose one or two, sing, drink; have a bit of fun, and then go to a room for ‘business.’ Not love, only business,’ says a local (chinese) businessman, Han Yulai.
Social media apps are being used to connect supply and demand, especially China’s mainstream instant messaging service WeChat. Women linger around waiting for men to seek out their services.
By searching ‘people-nearby’ and selecting ‘female-only’ you get a list of WeChat users in the area. Looking at their profile pictures + information, it doesn’t take much imagination to figure out who’s in business (and what’s for sale); which can easily be confirmed by chat, cellphone and meeting.
Chinese media reports that the sex trade has shifted from the street (pick-ups) to one-on-one home service and phone appointments (i.e. in/out calls).
More than 250,000 (over a quarter of a million) sex workers are estimated to be affected in Dongguan.