The HCM City police closed down a dozen brothels and arrested nearly 60 people in a crackdown on commercial sex trade, said to be the city’s biggest in the past five years, which began Wednesday.
They raided 12 large brothels in districts 1, 2, 5, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh, and Phu Nhuan and arrested 59 pimps and commercial sex workers.
Three of the arrested pimps are veterans in the trade of whom the big fish is 31-year-old Ngo Quang Minh, known as Long, who procures sex workers for a brothel at 43/48 Cong Hoa Street, Tan Binh District.
He also ran a commercial sex trade ring and procured ‘virgins’ for customers at as high as dong 5 million (US$314).
Nguyen Hoang Thanh, 55, known as mother Le Thanh, has been running a brothel at her house on District 5’s Tran Hung Dao Street for more than 10 years. She has been arrested three to four times in the past.
Dinh Thi Mong Huyen, 34, who pimps for a brothel at 62 Nhieu Tu Street, Phu Nhuan District, had been jailed for four-years in 2000.
An Investigation Police Department official said this was the biggest campaign against commercial sex trade since 2000. The police plan to raid 20 other suspected brothels in town.
Commercial sex trade is illegal in Vietnam.
Portrait of a pimp
Minh (or Long) the procurer was also a moneylender, the police said, who had confessed to forcing every aspiring sex worker to borrow 3-5 million dong (US$188-314) from him.
They must repay 200,000-300,000 dong(US$12-19) a day for 18 days if they borrowed 3-5 million dong (US$189-314). This works out to an interest rate of more than 400% a year.
If a woman failed to pay one day, she had to pay an extra 50,000-100,000 dong the next day.
The police said Minh earned 12 million dong (US$754) a month from just these loans.
He started off as a barber, became a Honda om motorbike taxi driver who mostly plied sex workers, and later graduated to organizing commercial sex trade and supplied girls to 16 brothels.