Why prostitution in Singapore? It’s always a challenge trying to decide what to write about here on Rockit Reports. That’s not because I’ve run out of things to discuss. Quite the opposite. I have more topics in mind than I can possibly cover with the time allotted to me in this life. While trying to get some things out of the way to make room for others I run the danger of posting too much about one place or theme. Luckily regular readers of Rockit Reports have no problem speaking up and giving their opinion on the direction of the site. I don’t take orders from readers but I do take what they say into account.
I’ve posted a few reviews and reports on the large commercial sex industry in Singapore over the last few years. According to some readers these posts came later than they should have. As they say, “better late than never.” With that in mind I’ve decided to finally write a full report on the sale of sex in the land of Sir Stamford Raffles.
Legality of prostitution in Singapore
It’s commonly said that prostitution is legal in Singapore. This is a bit of a misnomer. While certain types of regulated prostitution are legal other kinds are not. Wikipedia says:
Prostitution in Singapore in itself is not illegal, but various prostitution-related activities are criminalized. This includes public solicitation, living on the earnings of a prostitute and maintaining a brothel. In practice, police unofficially tolerate and monitor a limited number of brothels. Prostitutes in such establishments are required to undergo periodic health checks and must carry a health card.
This doesn’t mean that the available sex services are limited to the regulated brothels however. Wikipedia continues:
Apart from these regulated brothels, commercial sex workers can be found in many “massage” or “spa” establishments. Some massage parlours, including tui na outlets, employ women from mainland China and offer massages as a pretext for sexual services. These activities are illegal, and the operators of such massage establishments risk jail if exposed by anti-vice police raids. Yet, virtually everyone who visits these establishments in particular are fully aware of the sexual services provided within, and are there precisely because of it.
In some cases it seems like the authorities tolerate the unofficial action. It just be that they can’t control it. Women can be found walking the streets of Geylang and working the bars of Orchard Towers every night of the week. Occasionally the police will sweep in and make some arrests. Things will dry up for a few hours or even an entire night but then it will start right back up again.
It’s not for me to decide which practices should and shouldn’t be allowed. I’m no politician and I’m in no position to make a moral judgement on anyone else. I’ve made it clear that I am for the legalization of prostitution everywhere time and time again on this site, which offers information presented in my own way published for no other reason than to entertain readers. Here’s what I know.
Geylang red light district
Geylang is home to the main concentration of regulated brothels that staff Thai and mainland Chinese women. It’s also a place where hundreds of women from Vietnam, Indonesia and other countries troll the streets, open air coffee shops and hotels in search of customers. I published a full report on the sale of sex in Geylang in late 2014. Sex in the legal brothels costs anywhere from 50 – 200 Singapore Dollars ($40-160 US) though the average price for foreigners is 100 Singapore Dollars ($80 US).
Every aspect of action in the brothels is legally required to be performed with a condom though exceptions are sometimes made for oral sex. Street walkers charge anywhere from 20 – 100 Singapore Dollars depending on the lady, the market and the negotiating skills of the customer. Condom use for oral sex with street walkers varies. Some won’t even perform oral. Scams and entrapment is also a possibility. Local men have been arrested for taking underage street workers with fake ID cards to hotels (apparently) by mistake.
The four floors of whores
Orchard Towers is a set of buildings that houses low end retail shops, homes and some bars. During the day the public area looks like any other low rent mall in Asia with the exception of the small massage parlors scattered around. At night the stores shutter and a number of bars open up to a stream of mostly foreign customers. Some of the bars staff women and others simply attract freelancers. Women from the Philippines and Vietnam are the most common, but Thai, Ukranian and Chinese gals can also be found.
Not all of the women will leave with customers. Some are simply out to make tips. Most of the available women are a bit older and less attractive than the average working girls in their home countries and they also compare negatively to the looks of the women in Geylang generally speaking. Women working the “four floors of whores” as it’s known can ask for anywhere from 200 to 500 Singapore Dollars ($160-400 US) for a roll in the hay. The small massage parlors scattered throughout the building offer half hour massages with hands on happy endings for 100 Singapore dollars ($80 US) all in. Some ladies and ladyboys can be found in the streets in front of the entrance every night. They typically ask for less than the women in the bars. I wrote a detailed report on the Orchard Towers sex scene back in September.
Brix is an expensive cocktail bar in the basement of the Grand Hyatt Hotel. The entrance is just to the right of the main entrance for the hotel. Overly serious security guards stand at the entrance with the apparent purpose of staring intimidatingly at punters who are willing to shell out 30 Singapore Dollars ($24 US) for the privilege of entering and having a single drink.
The bar is nice and relatively large though the lighting is a bit low and this combines with ultra-bright burning candles scattered around to make it next to impossible to get an accurate impression of the looks of anyone else inside. Brix opens in the evenings and draws a large crowd nearly every night. By eleven o’clock it can be tough to move around inside. Hundreds of freelance prostitutes mingle with dozens of men around the bar. Most of the guys are Westerners in business or business casual clothing although the occasional guy in a t-shirt and jeans will also find his way inside, no doubt having heard about the wonders of the place on the internet. There is some kind of dress code at Brix but I don’t know what it is. Apparently it’s not too strict. Asian businessmen are also present in small numbers.
The freelance prostitutes mainly hail from Vietnam but other Asian and former Soviet Bloc countries are also represented. One or two South American women can find their way to Brix occasionally. Some Vietnamese women will lie and say they are from Laos or some other country only to be seen later speaking Vietnamese to their friends from back home. Maybe they’re trying to appear exotic. Generally the older and more desperate women will approach guys while most of the others will stand around waiting for guys to approach them.
It’s a bit like a regular pick up scene except that money is certainly expected. It’s not a point and go facility by any means as guys are sometimes rejected upon approach. The women are usually in their late 20’s or 30’s and generally average in looks though they can be good at dolling themselves up. More than a few have enhanced breasts. They typically ask for 300-1000 Singapore Dollars ($240-800 US) for a romp. These prices may seem outrageous but the constant flow of customers means some guys are paying them. Negotiation is always a possibility but even the lower end prices can’t compete with what’s available in Geylang from women of equal or superior looks. Some of the women at Brix claim to be regular professionals who just show up occasionally to make some extra money. I have no way to confirm or refute this.
Escorts and similar ladies operate alone and through agencies in Singapore. The uber rich can have arrangements made for them but most guys find their ladies online. All of the typical outlets are used but there are also a few more of note. Singapore has it’s own version of 141 and there’s also a very popular forum called Sammy Boy Forum where all sorts of service providers are discussed and reviewed (though the local version of English used can be difficult to decipher at times). Rates for escorts are all over the place, ranging from the very reasonable to the completely outrageous.
Other areas and venues
Keong Saik Street in Chinatown is another area that houses a lot of shop house brothels. The prices are a little lower than Geylang even though the women are on average a little better looking. The houses are worn down and many will not accept foreigners which is a bit rich in a country where so many people come from other lands. I don’t have any up to date info on this area since I haven’t checked in on it in many years. Other red light districts exist on Petain Road and Desker Road. These areas are more dated and the women who work them tend to be also. Prices are as low as half the normal rate in Geylang but the women can be two to three times as old as the gals over there and action is expected to finish quick.
Karaoke KTV and bars also exist. There are quite a few in Geylang. These seem to be even more targeted toward locals than some of the other places and since I’m not a big fan of off key singing I have little knowledge or experience except to say that many double as places to procure a date in exchange for cash.
There you have it. This report certainly isn’t exhaustive but it’s the best I can do at the moment. I hope you’ve enjoyed!