Thursday, May 5, 2011

Prostitution, an Open Trade in Kyaukpru

By Tun Tun
Kyauk Pru: Prostitution is growing like an open trade in Kyaukpru, a port town in western Burma's Arakan State, with the collusion of government personnel in the illegal trade, report residents.

Kyauk-Pru-Jetty-construction-3 A Chinese project in Kyauk Pru
"Prostitutes are available in almost every beauty or massage parlor in our town," said one town youth.

He said the most risk-free corner for the prostitutes is a parlor opened as a beauty salon in Tan Lyar Market near the town police barrack. The parlor is owned by the commander of Light Infantry Battalion 34, with a police officer serving as a business partner.

The residents have seen the rise in prostitution in their town since the initiation of international business projects that include construction of oil and gas pipelines as well as related infrastructure projects in the area since late 2010.

"Many brothels opened under the front of beauty or massage parlors have sprouted up in our town with the arrival of many national and Chinese workers for the construction of pipelines, deep seaports, and roads in our area," said a resident.

Prostitution is illegal and punishable with up to three years in prison, and owning a business used habitually for the purpose of prostitution, or used with reference to any kind of business for the purpose of prostitution is also illegal and punishable with up to three years in prison and a fine, under the Burmese Prostitution Act.

Sources said the sex trade in Kyaukpru is growing as government officers in the town are either directly or indirectly engaging in the sex trade for the own profit.

The owners of sex parlors started their businesses with young women brought in from Burma proper, but they have since enticed a number of local young women into the trade, including students.

"The owners are now offering local young women 20,000 kyat, but pay just 10,000 kyat to women brought from Rangoon and other parts of Burma proper. Now a number of young local women, including students, have started to become involved in the sex rackets," said the youth.

He added that the young women from the parlors are also being sent to the islands in Kyaukpru Township where the Chinese projects are being implemented.

Kyaukpru was once a serene coastal beach town, but is now being disturbed with the anti-social sex trade brought with Chinese business projects, said the residents.
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