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International News

A New Class of Chinese Escorts

November 1, 2010

Women in universities and aspiring professionals looking to advance themselves amid China's economic boom are increasingly turning to sex work, advocates and academics in Beijing say. This semester, at least two universities have banned students from working as escorts and mistresses.

"Years ago, when people heard somebody was a prostitute, [society] would criticize her very harshly, so girls who might want to copy her would change their minds," said Xiao Yi, 27, who became a mistress to her boss while interning at an advertising agency. "These days, people's attitudes have totally changed. They laugh at poor people, but they don't laugh at prostitutes."

Yi's boss gives her money, helped with business ventures, and gave her "financial aid" for her relatives, she said. "He can look after people," she said. "There are quite a few of us girls. We are thinking of ways to make our lives better."

"More and more, students are making this choice, taking a shortcut to a better life," said Lan Lan, a former sex worker who now runs an organization to raise HIV awareness and distribute condoms. "They find a rich lover, post services on the Internet, or just walk into a high-end club and sell themselves."

Students reluctant to see themselves as sex workers can be lax about protected sex, Lan said. "If they're trying to become a mistress, they won't take a condom when they go to meet this man," she said. "They want to show their purity and loyalty."

"Most of the girls are financially comfortable, but they see their classmates carrying Louis Vuitton or Gucci bags, and they're jealous," said "Student Ding," who takes a 10 percent commission for linking moneyed men with students. These men would find cruising karaoke bars and hotels for prostitutes degrading and time-consuming, he said. "They don't have time and they don't know how to find them. They can't drive their posh cars around campus asking girls if they want to be their mistresses," he said. "I act as a bridge."

Back to other news for November 2010

Adapted from:
Los Angeles Times
10.21.2010; Megan K. Stack

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
See Also
Chinese HIV/AIDS Organizations
More News on HIV/AIDS in China

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