Big sex shop shut down in Saigon

Vietnamese barbership workersA number of recent busts have shut down several sex shops in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Barbershops (known in Vietnamese as hot tocs) that offer a whole lot more than a trim around the ears seem to have been hardest hit.

All in all it seems that at least a dozen shops have been shuttered. That’s just what I know about. It’s quite possible that the number is much higher. Interestingly, the owners of these shops were usually hit with charges like “operating a business without a license.” According to everything I know, the women workers will probably be given hefty fine that amounts to around 250 US dollars and let go. In the past there were reports that women arrested for prostitution in Vietnam were forced into rehab centers even though most of them weren’t drug users.

Several of the hostess bars on Hai Ba Trung were also raided, with the owners and workers carted away.

I’m a few days late reporting this serious of events, but I’m sure it’s still news to most of my readers. While the usual discussion boards around the internet are alight with stories of shop shut downs, the official media is remaining rather mum, especially when one considers the scale of this crackdown. Still, there is a little something to be found in English. Thanh Nien News posted some information on one bust at the end of July:

Police in Ho Chi Minh City busted another prostitution ring that caters to foreigners at a local barbershop on Monday, Dan Tri online newspaper reported.

When police raided the VIP barbershop in Tan Binh District, they found a female staff member having sex with a Chinese man who was charged VND500,000 (US$23.46) for the service, according to the news report.

It quoted police as saying that the ring specifically targeted Chinese, Korean and Japanese men.

Headed by Tang Thi Thu Trang, the barbershop had some 10 female workers who had to pay the owner VND200,000 each time they collected the fee of VND500,000 from customers.

A few things stand out about this report. First is the fee. It appears the gentlemen in question was getting a discount, because the going rate for Westerners at these sorts of places is usually closer to 700,000 (as opposed to usual $10 at the blowjob only barbershops like Ben Ny’s). The second thing that seems curious is that police caught the worker and customer in the act. How could that happen? I very much doubt it was out in the open. Even if police advanced into the shop without the management alerting the women at work (which is itself highly unlikely), they would still encounter a locked door. When they pounded on the door it would give the customer and worker time to get up before letting them in. Finally, it’s not common for shops set up for foreigners to be targeted. The reason these shops only aim at foreigner customers to begin with is to avoid law enforcement.

Of course it’s hard for any sex shop to operate under the radar in Vietnam. Especially when it’s going down in a “barbershop.” At the very least, someone with some power locally should have known about it. Normally I would think that the shut down of a shop would indicate that the owners ran afoul of the wrong people. In this case though it doesn’t seem likely. The scope of the sex shop sweep is simply too wide.

The Thanh Nien post continues:

Last week the city’s police busted two prostitution rings catering to foreigners, one of which was also based in Tan Binh District.

I haven’t been able to find any official reports on shut downs of some of the blowjob hot tocs, but I have it on good authority that most of the more well known places have been raided and closed. Will they reopen?  I have no way of knowing.

It’s almost impossible for outsiders to know exactly what’s going on. One thing is to be sure though, it’s not a fun time to be in the market for sexual services in Ho Chi Minh City. Sure there is still plenty available off the beaten path, but it’s going to be tougher and more expensive than ever for most. With nearby Thailand so close by with it’s widespread sex industry it seems ridiculous that this sort of thing would be happening.

One certainly could argue that Thailand and Vietnam are totally different countries. That is indeed true. However, with recent discussions among government officials over legalizing prostitution in Vietnam and the revelation that “many sex workers in HCMC do it by choice,” the recent busts seem even more absurd.

My position continues to be that once and for all, worldwide, prostitution should be legal. That’s no real surprise, right?

It’s anyone’s guess what is to come next. Angeles City’s sex scene is one of the largest and most long standing in the world, but even that has been subject to a series of shutdowns lately.

A few months ago I made a post entitled “where to get a happy ending massage in America” in which I expressed my disgust in the seemingly never ending number of stings and busts in the United States and announced that I would no longer post reviews of massage parlors in the land of the free. I have stuck to that. When it comes to various parts of Asia and the rest of the world, I have to weigh the pros and cons of everything. The last thing I want to do is cause problems for any working women (and that is who suffers most from these kinds of crackdowns).

I will continue to provide as much information as I can, all followed of course by the disclaimer at the bottom of each page that the material here is “purely fictional and intended only as adult entertainment.”

29 Comments

  1. White Lightening says:

    It’s a shame to see headlines like this anywhere around the globe.

    I don’t know why but the focus always seems to be on Asian venues.

    Perhaps its caused by some sort of agenda or something worse ?

    • rockit says:

      Who knows. It’s especially unexpected in this case since there were recent public discussions in Vietnam about the possibilities of legalizing prostitution. Vietnam is filled with beautiful women but was never a very easy scene for temporary visitors to navigate. It will now become even more difficult.

  2. Anon says:

    I was there on the 3rd of August, I tried to go to Ben Ny’s like your report around 8PM-9PM but it was closed. I thought it might be because of ramadhan period, but seeing this post I know why now.

    • rockit says:

      Yes, that was probably it. Ramadan isn’t observed in Vietnam, but busts are. Word has it that most shops are now reopening with limited staff, though many of the bars on Hai Ba Trung are still closed.

  3. rockit says:

    A report appeared on a Vietnamese news site recently but I can’t access it now. This is what it said:

    On June 14, the more than 80 HCM City police officers surrounded a hotel and four bars at No. 35, No. 37, No. 49 and No. 51 on the street of Hai Ba Trung in District 1. Checking these sites, the police found a lot of violations in business and seized documents showing prostitute operations of the waitresses.

    According to the police, this is a sex ring with very sophisticated operation. This complex of bars was actually a sex ring for foreigners only. Vietnamese rich men and even overseas Vietnamese were refused to be served. This is considered a way to avoid investigating agencies.

    These bars opened daily from 6pm to 2am, mainly for foreigners. Whoremongers were offered 15-20 girls for their selection. The price is $100. In addition, the whoremonger had to pay the bar manager VND500,000 and VND50,000 to the guard. The investigation agency said nine people who ran the four bars are relatives.

    These four bars used two cars to carry prostitutes to hotels to serve foreign whoremongers. These girls came from southwestern provinces and they were “selected” carefully.

    In May 2013, at a hotel on Nguyen Chi Thanh road and a hotel on Hong Bang Road, District 5, inspection teams caught seven prostitutes serving their clients, including some gay pairs. Inspectors also caught red-handed two pairs of gay prostitution at a spa in Phu Nhuan district. At this spa, a lot of male prostitutes waited for clients. According to the police, this spa is familiar site for gay prostitution and many clients are foreigners.

    In Binh Duong province, in late December 2012, the police discovered three Korean men with Vietnamese prostitutes. According to investigation, this restaurant only provided prostitution service for foreigners.

    In August 2012, Thanh Hoa police arrested Do Thi Ha, 34, innkeeper of Nam Thanh motel and Bui Trung Son, 22, receptionist for arranging ten prostitutes to serve foreign whoremongers.

    Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Anh, a sociological researcher in HCM City said that prostitutes could earn higher from foreign whoremongers, with VND1-1.5 million ($50-75)/time. These girls often work at bars, karaoke parlous or hotels in industrial zones, where have many foreigners.

    However, it is difficult to solve foreigner-related prostitution activities because the procedures must be approved by the Foreign Affairs Department. In addition, the pay for interpreters is high.

  4. dbljinbkk says:

    I went by Ben ny’s tonight and everything was gone, including the sign… the place at 110 was there but at 11pm was closed… 91 was open and lots of touts on the streets around there..

    • rockit says:

      Thanks for the comment. A lot of contradictory information is floating around. Many of these kinds of places close early so I’m not surprised that the shop was closed even if it’s still in operation. Thanks again, cheers!

  5. RetREMF says:

    Just returned from Saigon. Couldn’t find Benny’s after walking Dien Bien Phu Thursday, 19 Dec about 5:30, so went back at about noon the next day looking. Finally saw the smallish blue framed purple sign about 12-18″ x 24″. I don’t think it is lighted otherwise I think I would have seen it the night before. Nobody was on the sidewalk outside either Thursday late aft when I walked by or at noon the following day. Another small sign in a store front entry way that is not Benny’s reads
    Ben Ny’s 20M —>

    BTW, 90 Dien Bien Phu is now a coffee shop.

    • rockit says:

      From everything I hear that seems to be an accurate report. The big flashing sign is no more. Cheers.

  6. phat says:

    Hey I found your website very interesting .. I wil subscribe and become a member and contribute if possible … keep them posts coming.

  7. Jaydah says:

    rockit – any update on present the status of Saigon hot tocs?

  8. Someguy says:

    Hey rockit. Do you know if Ben Ny’s is still open? I just went today at midnight and 90 Dien Bien is a coffee shop as someone else has already pointed out.

  9. benni boi says:

    Hi rockit. Do ya know if any of the hostess bars on Hai Ba Trung have reopened?

  10. Tony says:

    Hey rockit. Is there any fun places in tan binh? Something like Ben ny’s or bar to meet girls?

  11. yama says:

    Hi rockit,

    I heard that Benny has closed and that the sign has disapeared and there is a new sign “for rent”

    Is it true?

    • rockit says:

      Check the post on Benny’s. This has been reported almost monthly for the last two years, but as of last month it was still open. Cheers.

  12. Tim says:

    Is Benny’s still open?

  13. Tommy says:

    I am very interested in checking Ben Nys out. Do you happen to have picture of how the girl look in that place? I been reading your artical and it really got my interest of the place. Do you also have a phone number of the place?

    Thanks

  14. Tommy says:

    Thanks just wanted to see if they still open so I can visit thanks

  15. Rocky says:

    It’s funny that they allow massage places to have shower insude where the male client is completely nude in front of the masseuse but they have a problem with the female provider being nude. Sexism against males? A lot of these places don’t even allow the female masseuse to take off their tops while they watch the men completely nude and even enter the shower rooms sometimes.

    • rockit says:

      None of the laws against sex work anywhere in the world make much sense. It’s clear they are not based on any kind of rational thought. Cheers.

    • Rocky says:

      @Rockit: All laws are biased to help serve women and we made these laws.

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