China Launches Anti-Vice Campaign, Putting Sex Workers at Risk

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World

No paid sex, please. And while we’re at it, no gambling or drugs. That’s the message China’s government is sending as it launches a new, national struggle against the so-called three vices. State media are selling it as a matter of morality — a move that feels dangerously out of synch with facts on the ground.

The crackdown got under way last week after state broadcaster CCTV aired a segment on the prevalence of sex work in southern China’s “sin city,” Dongguan. The report showed women lining up for selection by customers and dancing in Karaoke clubs — hardly unusual for the steamy manufacturing hub in Guangdong province. But just hours later, a 6,000-strong police force was sweeping the city. At least 67 people were arrested and two officials sacked.

(MORE: Vice Doesn’t Pay: 10 Scandalous Chinese Officials Who Landed With a Bump)

What seemed…

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