The owners and managers of a handful of downtown bars were sentenced by a Ho Chi Minh City court, on Friday, for procuring prostitutes for foreign clients.
Nguyen Tan Dat, the owner of a bar on Hai Ba Trung Street, and Nguyen Thi Bich Thu, the manager of another down the street, received five years in jail for procuring prostitution, news website VietNamNet reported.
Nguyen Thi Phuong Anh, the owner of another bar nearby, received three and a half years for the same charge, the site said.
Six of their employees, who worked as guards and managers, were sentenced to between three and three-and-a-half years.
Dat, 30, opened a bar at 51 Hai Ba Trung in District 1 in 2010, hiring 12 waitresses whose main job was to have sex with exclusively foreign customers for VND2 million (US$94) each time.
Customers had to pay an extra $20 if they wanted to spend the night with a waitress.
Dat made a VND500,000 commission on each transaction. By the time he was arrested, he said he had pocketed around VND270 million ($12,740) from the business.
Anh and Thu’s bars reserved their girls for foreigners.
Anh, 42, who owned a bar at No. 37 on the same street, charged $50 for stripteases, $80 for sex and $100 for one-night stands.
She took VND300,000-500,000 each time, saying she'd earned around VND100 million ($4,720) from the business by the time of her arrest.
Nguyen Thi Bich Thu worked as the manager at Bar No. 49, which was owned by her sister Nguyen Thi Bich Van.
The 47-year-old managed three waitresses at the bar who provided sex to foreigners at a local hotel.
She sent three other waitresses to serve customers at Anh’s bar on the evening of June 14, 2013 when the police raided the bars.
Thu said she earned around VND60 million ($2,830) from her procurement activities.
Tuoi Tre reported that, on the day of the bust, police escorted 53 people to the station. Few details about the clients were released--except for the mention of a Chinese national caught in a hotel room with a barber shop employee in District 3.
The paper reported that the shop had been run by the same ring--but not mention of the barber shop was made at trial. No details were released concerning the fate of either the sex workers or their foreign clients.
According to a parliamentary resolution which took effect in July of 2012, sex workers no longer have to serve compulsory terms at rehabilitation centers.
Prostitution remains illegal and sex workers may be fined VND300,000 (US$14.2) for their first-time offense and up to VND5 million for repeat offenses.
According to a 2004 government decree, those found paying for sex may be fined between VND500,000-VND5 million, depending on the circumstances.