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Who are the sex-workers in Saigon? What does prostitution here look like? Why do people do exploit themselves? And do you think you could ever be driven to it? Not at all. Actually, I swear I recognised her. That siren, that woman was tall and had the bossom of a goddess. She was just so damn familiar. Her chin was high, but her clothes slapped of the sort of mess that only happens when you stop caring about yourself.
Her face was strikingly empty, like a shell. I followed her with my eyes, and watched her take a seat quietly on another bench nearby. She sat nicely, and took out a book to read. As it turned out, there was a lot…. Many work on the street, from motorbikes or from the park. Street prostitution in Saigon in general is rampant. Just one. She has short wiry hair tamed into a bun and wears the same pant-suit combination every day.
She waits, and men drive up to her piece of pavement on their motorbikes. They negotiate, make a deal, and she gets on behind him to fly away into the night…hours later and she is dropped back, to do it all again. How do I know? So many of these women are heroin or meth addicts, and it is a commonly known fact among the locals here that people use the park as a place to shoot up. Many users sit in groups. Families brush past them. Men and women, tourists, couples, locals, business-men and tiny children…and they sit there.
I wrote another post about this actually, about one terrifying thing I saw one night when I was walking home. You can read it here. Many of the women in this group use prostitution to pay for their habit. Many prostitutes in District 1 also walk the strip and approach people, some perch in bars with one drink all night and the promise of commission to the bar owner, and many arrive after midnight when most revellers on the strip are too intoxicated to care much about their wallets.
Sad, immoral, horrible, but clever. I know I am ignorant, but it shocked me to hear from my friend Ami that she was studying full-time to be an accountant. Ami works at a bar in Pham Ngu Lau. Ami is just one of many many women, men and even children who prostitute themselves around the world in the hope of a better life. Some send money home, and others use it to pave their way out of the cycle of poverty to a better life.