tirsdag 28. desember 2021

Debt-trapped Lao ‘chat girls’ forced to sell sex in China-run economic zone

When a young woman from the Lao capital Vientiane took on a job as a "chat girl” at the Kings Romans Casino in far northern Laos, she saw a chance to earn an honest living selling shares in her new company to casino patrons. But only months after she was recruited and had already agreed to take on debt to finance her application fees and moving expenses, she was told she would have to start selling sex when she couldn’t meet impossibly high sales quotas.

“We have to get enough customers, meaning we have to be able to persuade up to 100 people to buy the company’s shares. For me, that was an unreachable goal,” she told RFA’s Lao Service Dec. 13. “Most of us can only get one or two investors a month. If we are unable to reach our goal, they will trade us to other companies, making us do other kinds of jobs, including sexual services,” she said.

The Vientiane woman was able to contact the authorities and was rescued before it came to sex work, but she said she was but one of hundreds of Lao women who were at risk of being forced into prostitution in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in northern Laos.