The practice is completely legal in theory, yet how often is it a masquerade, a pretext for pimps and mamasans (female pimps) to control a staggering 18 floors of “phoenix women” in ever-bustling Causeway Bay?The site Wiki Sex Guide, which appears to attract approximately 3 million monthly visitors, describes the Fuji Building as “all legal.” Brockstar of Single Man’s Paradise offers his own distasteful commentary on the building: “In a nutshell, you have over 100 whores in one building and it’s completely LEGAL!
“Most of the regulations put sex workers in unstable positions where the law cannot be of service.” For example, having a security guard or partnering with another prostitute could warrant charges of “living off the proceeds of prostitution.”Regardless of their effectiveness, in locales like the Fuji Building these laws are not irrelevant.
” Thearticles about the building have mentioned the occasional arrest of a landlord living off the proceeds of prostitution over the years, but the overall tone is consistent with the set-up’s perceived legality.
Hong Kong historian Jason Wordie has condemned the “hidden in plain sight” situation of human trafficking in Hong Kong and the pervasiveness of exploitation in the Asian megacity. Lee, a five-year veteran volunteer at Zi Teng, says what is happening in the Fuji Building may not necessarily be exploitation in the obvious sense.
As we proceed with our questioning, the short man in a black bandana and cropped muscle T snaps in English, “Hey! ”Unhappy with our explanation, he tells us to leave. You come with me—in here,” irritably motioning to the elevator.
In Cantonese, our escort tells the cleaning lady in the elevator to make sure we exit the building. Zi Teng estimates that there are upwards of 100,000 female sex workers in Hong Kong, most of whom work in “one-woman” brothels or “massage parlors.”These one-woman brothels have a name in Cantonese that translates to “one room, one phoenix.” The name stems from a famous prostitute nicknamed the Phoenix.
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