China / Society

Guangdong vows to get tougher on sex trade

By Qiu Quanlin in Guangzhou (China Daily) Updated: 2014-03-25 07:37

A senior official of Guangdong province vowed on Sunday to establish a long-term mechanism and introduce tougher measures to fight the illegal sex trade.

Guangdong vows to get tougher on sex trade

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Guangdong vows to get tougher on sex trade

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At a special work meeting in Dongguan to tackle the problem of prostitution, Hu Chunhua, Party chief of Guangdong, said the province would not allow social evils like the illegal sex trade to become rampant. Local police launched a three-month crackdown on prostitution in February.

"We have achieved periodic results in the fight against prostitution as most venues allegedly involved in the illegal industry were shut down and a number of people including government officials who were connected to the problem were punished," Hu said.

The Guangdong authorities announced a provincewide crackdown on prostitution a day after a China Central Television report on Feb 9 exposed rampant illegal sex trade activities in massage parlors and hotels in Dongguan, a Pearl River Delta city about 100 kilometers from Hong Kong.

"After the initial results, the crackdown is now targeting the source of the problem. We will introduce a long-term mechanism to tackle the problem by carrying out further investigation and research on how the sex trade began and who is involved," Hu said.

According to Hu, authorities in Guangdong are revising a regulation to punish government officials who are found in dereliction of duty in the crackdown on social evils.

Also, related departments are working on an administrative provision to regulate massage parlors in the province, according to Hu.

Since the crackdown began, more than 3,100 entertainment venues across Guangdong have been shut down for their alleged involvement in prostitution. Almost two-thirds of the shuttered venues are located in Dongguan, a city known for its large manufacturing industry and also for its underground casino resorts, bathhouses, massage parlors and backstreet brothels.

Along with the crackdown on prostitution, a three-month education campaign for police officers will also be launched at the end of this month, to build up their image, according to Hu.

"The campaign is aimed at tackling problems such as the failure to abide by laws, lax enforcement and dereliction of duty by police officers and punishing those who have engaged in the illegal sex trade," Hu said.

During the annual session of the National People's Congress, which concluded in Beijing on March 13, Hu said that the authority had introduced an accountability system to punish officials who provided protection to illegal sex activities.

Dongguan's deputy mayor and police chief Yan Xiaokang has been fired and several other police officers in the city's townships have been punished.

"Dongguan needs to make a breakthrough both in economic and social morality development. The city should push forward its industrial upgrades to meet the annual economic and social development target," Hu said.

Feng Shengping, a researcher with the Guangdong Provincial Situation Research Center, said authorities in Dongguan should put more emphasis on economic transformation to ward off the possible effect of the crackdown on prostitution.

"In the past, Dongguan relied heavily on the traditional processing trade and manufacturing to sustain its economic development," Feng said.

Because of rising production and labor costs and unstable overseas demand, manufacturers in Dongguan have struggled in recent years to maintain business growth, Huang said.

"The government should introduce strategically emerging projects to drive its economic development. Healthy economic development will help promote a good image of Dongguan," Feng said.

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