At a conference on measures to prevent and control prostitution, a government official suggested that Vietnam establish red-light districts to curb prostitution, reported Thanh Nien.
The suggestion came from Chung A, former deputy chairman of the National Committee for Prevention and Control of AIDS, who said that while licensed businesses such as massage parlors, hotels and karaoke bars act as de facto brothels, prostitution remains completely unregulated.
Under current laws, instead of being brought to rehabilitation centers, prostitutes caught soliciting face only administrative fines that max out at VND 4 million.
With 32,700 sex workers in Vietnam, up 9.3% from 2012, “there has been much debate about whether or not Vietnam should legalize prostitution.”
Last January, Ho Chi Minh City’s Anti-Social Ills Agency proposed a plan to create areas for these “sensitive services” to regulate the trade but it was dismissed. When it came up again in December, the idea was again rejected by a member of the Politburo, Le Thanh Hai:
“It is impossible to do so because it is against the system’s nature and the peoples’ moral standards.”