The Ho Chi Minh City police have arrested a man and a woman for allegedly extorting large sums of money from sex workers for “protection.”
Preliminary investigations have found Nguyen Kim Ngan, 44, and her brother-in-law Nguyen Tien Long, 32, forced prostitutes to pay them 55-70 percent share of their earnings from each client, which the duo had set at VND300,000-1 million (US$13-35).
The sex workers also had to pay VND200,000 ($9) a night to stand on the street to look for customers.
Officers arrested Ngan and Long after a sex worker, who was caught with a client at local hotel last week, complained about them.
Ngan and Long, the latter a drug addict, had more than 10 henchmen who would beat up any of the sex workers not paying up, the police said.
Seven of the gang have also been arrested.
The gang has admitted to earning around VND60 million a month from 10 sex workers since the beginning of 2015.
The police said they trapped the sex workers first by offering loans to buy cosmetics and accessories they need for the job. Then they had to keep working to clear the debt.
Last week the police had arrested 14 men belonging to two different gangs for extorting money from streetwalkers.
One of them earned around VND200 million ($8,922) a month from 40 sex workers.
Prostitution is illegal in Vietnam and sex workers are fined if caught. Many say they get almost no protection from authorities.