As evidenced by its name, the “market”, which is located in an apartment complex, has Vietnamese women only, and its guests are mainly Chinese men, An Ninh The Gioi (World Security) newspaper reported.
The ‘market’ mainly runs at night, when a group of at least four young women sits at the ground floor of each apartment building to welcome their guests.
These women usually embroider handkerchiefs while they sit there. Though the temperature sometimes drops to 5 degrees Celcius, they wear skimpy clothes, showing off their breasts and thighs.
One night, the women say a man approaching One of them, possibly the group’s leader, greeted him in Chinese. The man said, “My boss is Vietnamese. Will any of you receive him? The group leader replied in disappointment, “We are not allowed to receive Vietnamese men.
Whenever they see Vietnamese men enter the building, the women waves them away and say, “Dear, we would love to serve you, but the police will catch you. Please leave before you get in trouble.”
One of the women at the market is named Hong. She was once the group’s leader, and now she trades sex toys in the area.
“The Chinese government has banned prostitution-related business, but in cross-border trade areas like Po-chai, the business is implicitly allowed on the condition that sex workers must be Vietnamese and their guests must be Chinese or foreign men, excluding Vietnamese men.
A number of Chinese sex workers can also be found in Po Trai. They have fake ID cards stating that they are Vietnamese.
Brothel owners in the area are granted business licenses and they must pay relevant taxes and fees to the Chinese authorities. However, there remains a paradox that if any problems arise, they may be brought to court for charges of “harboring prostitutes.”
“One more oddity of this area is that these whorehouses are not governed by the local government but by ‘procurers’, who claim a right to ‘protect’ brothels based on a ‘fee’ they receive from brothel owners. They also act as tax and fee collectors, passing these payments on to authorities."
Any conflict between brothels or between guests and prostitutes is resolved by the procurers through physical violence and their law of the jungle.
When new sex workers arrive at the market, the local procurers have the right to “taste” them first before they serve their guests.
Any woman who violates the underworld law will be punished by the local boss; for example they may be taken to a room, stripped and beaten.
There have been cases in which local bosses tortured sex workers by continuously stimulating them with sex toys for a full day. After 24 hours of sexual stimulation, many women are so exhausted that they have to lay in bed for several days to recover.
There was one case, in particular, where a sex worker was paralyzed for a week after being tortured with sex toys. Women have also gone insane after being abused, one of whom is Dai, from the northern city of Hai Phong.
Dai, 21, was once considered the top prostitute at the B25 brothel. In her prime many men selected her for her services.
Dai had to give her pimp 40 percent of the money guests paid her, but there were still days when she was able to save more than 1,000 yuan (US$160).However, she still wasn’t able to afford her or her boyfriend’s drug addiction.
Dai’s pimp loaned her money at a 100% per day interest rate, and in February 2012, when her dept stood at 10,000 yuan (US$1,600), Dai and her lover escaped and hid in Pingxiang, a city in the municipal region of Chongzuo in southern China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
The pimp reported the escape to the local boss and Dai was seized two days later. She was brutally tortured with sex toys and went mad.
She began to groan and fall over whenever anyone touched her. Her boyfriend eventually brought her to Vietnam for medical treatment.
Hong, one of the prostitutes, said the pimps in the twon do not force any of the girls to work against their will. Only women who are in debt are forced to serve guests, in order to repay their debts.
Many beautiful sex workers have lured men into paying a ransom to take them from their brothel so that they could live together as husband and wife.
A number of men have fallen into this trap and been forced to pay at least 4 taels of gold to the woman’s pimp for her realease.
However, the women can leave their “husband” at any time and return to their brothel to lure other men. The ransoms are split 60:40 with their pimps.
Some sex workers have been ransomed by two or three men at the same time. When this happens the women consider themselves ‘rotary wives’.
Thi has experienced this before. She arrived in Po Trai when she was 13 years old to make a living by washing dishes at restaurants.
She was eventually adopted by Hong and led a decent life. Then, one day, after being beaten by Hong for stealing money from guests, Thi left and began working as a prostitute.
Thi later returned to Hong and lured a wealthy Chinese man named A Lo into ransoming her.
Lo paid 10 taels of gold and Thi lived with him for a while. Then, she started a fight with him and returned to Hong’s brothel. Lo ransomed her again, this time for four taels of gold.
After spending several years as Thi’s “husband”, Lo had no money left and Thi has since left him for good.
A similar trick is to sell girls to men looking for a wife or brothels that need workers for 10,000 yuan, of which the girl will get 6,000. However, after a certain amount of time, the girl will leave their husband or new brothel, leaving them in the lurch.
The girls will then be sold again, and the cycle will begin all over.