Interview with a Macau sauna massage worker


While Macau has mostly been off the radar of English speaking people an increasing number seem to have taken notice of the vast entertainment scene there. The former colony is probably most well known for its large casinos. People from all over Asia but mainly mainland China head there every day to drop money on the tables or in the slots.

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As first reported on this site quite a few years ago there are also a lot of adult entertainment venues in Macau. Some are connected to casinos and large hotels but others operate on their own. While some have come and gone or changed their setups a bit the local industry seems to be holding its own even as saunas and the like have been hit hard in the People’s Republic. The following is an interview with a woman who worked at a well known sauna in Macau for years. It is one of many interviews that appears in the book Sex Talk published earlier this year.

How old are you and where are you from?

I am 31. I am from a small town near Can Tho.

How long did you work in Macau?

I worked there for five years. I worked for four years then came back to Vietnam to build a house for my family. My boyfriend stopped sending me money so I went back to work in Macau again. I stayed one more year at a different sauna but when my contract finished I went back home.

What work do you do now?

I am not working. There is no work around here. I just take care of my home. My mom sells some drinks to people in the neighborhood but the money is small.

So where do you get money?

I have savings. My younger sister is working in Malaysia now. She sends money to my mom.

What kind of work does your sister do?

I don’t know. I think the same kind of work like me. I told her not to go but she didn’t listen.

Why did you tell her not to go?

She is not clever. She might have problems there and we cannot help her. And it is hard to get a husband if you do this kind of work. You can marry a foreigner maybe but they will not be good. Good guys don’t go to saunas.

Both you and your sister got into the same kind of work. There is a lot of talk about human trafficking and the idea that many of the women working these kinds of jobs are forced or tricked into it. What do you think?

I don’t know. I heard some girls got tricked to marry in China but not work. How could I get tricked? I just bought an airplane ticket and went to work. I knew I would work for my money. I got my money and that’s it.

So you weren’t forced or anything?

How could I be forced? I had to do everything myself. One lady around here helped me find the job. Then I went to work.

Did you know what kind of work it was?

I could guess. I am not stupid.

So what did you do in the saunas?

I did massage on the lower half of the body. But I didn’t do foot massage. Only thighs and inner thigh.

Inner thigh is the way they describe penis massage right?

Haha. Yes. But we do massage the inner thigh and also the penis and the balls. It’s not only a penis massage. They had that service in one sauna on a table. But that was not my job.

So did you do more regular massages or inner thigh massages?

I did both.

Where did you do the massages?

At the first place I worked we did them in the chair. I just put two big towels over the customer and slipped his shorts down and did the massage. At the second place I did the massage in a private room. The customer took off his shorts. I didn’t like the second place.

How was the job in general?

It was okay. It was a job. I like Macau sometimes. There are many Chinese but I could go out at night with my friends. We had fun. I ate good food and went to party with them. Also I could learn other languages. I learned English, Mandarin, and Cantonese from work.

Where did you stay?

I shared an apartment with some other Vietnamese girls. All the apartments are small in Macau.

How much money did you make?

A lot. I saved money and built a big house in my hometown. It is nice. My mom can live there and my brothers and sisters.

Can you tell me the exact amount?

It changes. You don’t have the same customers every month. Usually I made 20,000 Hong Kong Dollars ($2578 USD) or more every month. Sometimes I made a lot. If I meet with a customer outside I could make a lot. And I had a boyfriend from USA. He gave me money every month.

Why did he do that?

Because he loved me. But his kids didn’t want him to marry me. After a while they made him stop sending me money.

What did you do?

What could I do? I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t love him. He is old. But he loved me. I was happy he helped me and my family. I would marry him if I could.

You said you could make money by meeting customers outside of the sauna. Tell me about that.

If I liked the customer I could meet him outside. Sometimes they just wanted to party. Sometimes they wanted to have sex. They would give me a nice tip.

Did you do that often?

Not so often. Only if I liked the guy.

So now you are finished with him and with working in Macau?


So what will you do with your life?

I am looking for a husband. I want to have a baby. I am already old.

That’s it?

I’m also taking care of my house and my family. What else should I do?

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