Hanoi sets controversial goal to bust 500 prostitutes in 2017
A photo illustration of a woman standing at the side of a street
The letter directs Hanoi’s police force to carry out administrative inspections at 150 service facilities deemed likely to host prostitution activities in 2017, and prevent the re-emergence of 20 known prostitution ‘hotspots’ eradicated between 2009 and 2016.
An interdepartmental inspection team has also been tasked with checking regulatory compliance regarding prostitution laws at 50 businesses in the city.
In the letter, Hanoi’s administration sets a ‘quota’ for these government bodies to bust 200 cases of prostitution and penalize 500 prostitutes during 2017, leaving many baffled by its wording.
“I really don’t understand why we need to set a ‘quota’ to bust 500 prostitutes at all; do we wish to have no prostitutes or do we wish to have as many prostitutes as possible to meet the ‘target’?” a (Youth) newspaper reader asked in her comment on an article reporting on the issue.
“If there aren’t enough prostitutes to be penalized, should the authorities be praised or disciplined?” another reader asked satirically.
Vietnam is a country with low tolerance toward prostitution despite efforts by local social activists to legalize the activity.
Prostitutes are not punishable under criminal laws, though they are subject to fines of up to VND500,000 (US$22.32), or deportation from Vietnam if they are foreigners.
Those who organize prostitution, however, can face between one year and life imprisonment, depending on the severity of their offense.
Earlier this month, the Hanoi administration announced another controversial piece of regulation which would name and shame those who dress scantily in public spaces.