HCMC considers karaoke, massage parlor zone

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"Sensitive services" like karaoke and massage parlors should be gathered in specific areas so they can be managed more easily, a city official has suggested.

This would, in turn, enable more effective campaigns against prostitution, Le Van Quy, deputy head of Ho Chi Minh City Social Evils Prevention Agency, said at a conference on human trafficking and prostitution held in the city on Tuesday.

Those services which refuse to move to specified areas should be closed down, he said.

Quy also urged the government to help the Mekong Delta develop economically and prevent local labor from migrating to the southern hub where they easily fall victim to human trafficking and prostitution.

Some 29,300 people were working as prostitutes in Vietnam with HCMC and the Mekong Delta accounting for the most at 17 percent each, the Social Evils Prevention Department under the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs reported at the conference.

Nearly 80 percent of the prostitutes working in HCMC come from the Mekong Delta provinces, according to HCMC Department of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs.

Other solutions put forward at the meeting included imposing stricter punishment and increased fines on unauthorized matchmakers for arranging marriages with foreigners. The current maximum fine is VND3 million (US$160.64).

Last year Vietnam had 465 people return home after being trafficked overseas, said Le Thi Ha, deputy head of the department.

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