VL.png The World-Wide Web Virtual Library
[WWW VL database || WWW VL search]
donations.gif asia-wwwvl.gif

Online Burma/Myanmar Library

Full-Text Search | Database Search | What's New | Alphabetical List of Subjects | Main Library | Reading Room | Burma Press Summary

Home > Main Library > Women > Sex work

Order links by: Reverse Date Title

Sex work

Individual Documents

Title: A Downward Spiral in Jiegao (story and photos)
Date of publication: April 2010
Description/subject: Drawn by dreams of jobs, many Burmese women end up selling sex and doing drugs on the Chinese border... "Jiegao, a small thumb of land jutting into Burma from the Chinese side of the Sino-Burmese border, is an easy place to fall into a life of suffering. Slide Show (View) There are more than 20 brothels in this otherwise unremarkable border town, and most of the sex workers are from Burma. They come to find work in factories and restaurants or as maids, but soon discover that well-paid jobs are few and far between. In order to pay off debts and support themselves, many have little choice but to take up prostitution. The life of a migrant worker in China is precarious, and for those in the sex industry, the risks are all the greater. Although Burmese citizens can get three-month residency permits to live in Chinese towns along the border, prostitution is illegal in China, and sex workers live in constant fear of arrest. The price of freedom, if they are caught, is typically 500 yuan (US $73)—a lot of money for a prostitute charging 14 to 28 yuan ($2-4) a trick, or 150 yuan ($22) for a night with a customer, especially when you consider that at least half of this amount goes to the brothel’s owner..."
Author/creator: Than Aung
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 18, No. 4
Format/size: html, Gif
Alternate URLs: http://www2.irrawaddy.org/print_article.php?art_id=18220
Date of entry/update: 19 April 2010


Title: For Sex Workers, A Life of Risks
Date of publication: 25 February 2010
Description/subject: RANGOON, Feb 25, 2010 (IPS) - When Aye Aye (not her real name) leaves her youngest son at home each night, she tells him that she has to work selling snacks. But what Aye actually sells is sex so that her 12-year-old son, a Grade 7 student, can finish his education.
Author/creator: Mon Mon Myat
Language: English
Source/publisher: IPS
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 02 November 2010


Title: Desolation Road
Date of publication: July 2009
Description/subject: Some poor country girls survive by turning tricks with truck drivers doing the lonely overnight run between Mandalay and Taunggyi
Author/creator: Ko Htwe
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 17, No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 11 August 2009


Title: Sex and the (Burmese) City
Date of publication: July 2008
Description/subject: One area of the economy where Cyclone Nargis caused prices to drop... RANGOON — "THEY’re known fancifully as nya-hmwe-pan, or “fragrant flowers of the night,” although the reality of after-dark life for Rangoon’s increasing number of prostitutes isn’t so romantic. The number of “fragrant flowers” walking the streets and working the bars of Burma’s major city has reportedly soared since Cyclone Nargis ripped into the Irrawaddy delta and tore families apart. The arrival of desperate young women ready to trade their bodies for the equivalent of two or three dollars has depressed Rangoon prices still further, and the new girls on the block face not only police harassment but the hostility of the “old timers.” One afternoon in central Rangoon, I went hunting for an interview subject in one of the city’s main thoroughfares, Bogyoke Aung San Street. I didn’t have far to look..."
Author/creator: Aung Thet Wine
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 16, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 15 July 2008


Title: The Vanishing Lady Tycoon
Date of publication: July 2005
Description/subject: Stories of murder and mayhem abound in Kachin State’s casino town... "Welcome to the Macao of northern Burma: Maija Yang, once a backward Kachin State border village but now a bustling boom town with more than a dozen casinos catering to Chinese gamblers sidelined by restrictions in their own country. The frontier-style administration of Maija Yang, 160km north of the Kachin capital Myitkyina, is effectively in the hands of the Kachin Independence Organization, which is said to earn around 8.5 million yuan (more than US $1 million) annually from the Chinese-run casinos. Prostitution, drugs and alcohol probably net the town even more money. The first of the casinos was built four years ago under a KIO development program originally intended to provide local people, traditionally reliant on the opium trade, with an alternative source of income. The high-minded plan went awry, however—the casinos employ mostly Chinese staff, and the drugs problem is only getting worse..."
Author/creator: Khun Sam
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 7
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 30 April 2006


Title: Karaoke Nights
Date of publication: May 2005
Description/subject: Rangoon girls swap the sweatshop for a hands-on job... "Owners of karaoke bars in Burma these days really have something to sing about. While other business sectors flounder in Burma’s moribund economy, most karaoke joints—known as KTV—are humming, their cash registers are playing sweet music. On a typical night in downtown Rangoon, the Royal is crowded with men looking for more than a song and with young women whose talents anyway couldn’t be described as vocal...Linn Linn, a 31-year-old widow with two children to support, has worked at several karaoke clubs, one of which, she says, was owned by a senior police officer and five businessmen. Club owners often invite government officials along for some “relaxation,” she claims. Linn Linn worked in a Rangoon brothel until a 2002 police crackdown on prostitution. Since then she has been employed by a string of karaoke bars, conceding that sex as well as songs are on the menu. About 50 karaoke girls were arrested in a second police crackdown, in 2003, on nightclubs suspected of doubling as brothels. Linn Linn escaped arrest, but she admits it might be only a matter of time before the next police raid puts her out of work. “What else can I do?” she says. “I have two children to support. Everything is so expensive now and the cost of living just rises and rises. I’ve no other way to make money other than continue in the karaoke trade.”..."
Author/creator: Ko Jay
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 27 April 2006


Title: Burma a la Mode - Prostitution is dressed-up and paraded in the nightclubs of Rangoon.
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: "...An old elevator door creaks open and seven women walk through the rooftop restaurant cum nightclub on a wet Friday night in Rangoon. A few wear long shiny red raincoats and sunglasses, others have fedoras tilted to hide their eyes, and some walk with children by their side. Despite the urbane camouflage it’s easy to see the women are all tall, thin and gorgeous. They move quickly towards the dressing rooms backstage, past tables of middle-aged men drinking glasses of Myanmar Beer and a woman singing John Denver’s "Take Me Home, Country Roads" over the deafening roar of a synthesizer. Within minutes the music dies down, stage lights flash on and the seven women appear onstage to the first few strains of a Brittany Spears tune. The men in the crowd clap, cheer and ogle as the ladies strut in tight-fitting slinky black and white bell-bottomed outfits..."
Author/creator: Chris O’Connell
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 11, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2003


Title: Wooing Women Workers
Date of publication: October 2003
Description/subject: "Crackdowns on Burmese migrants in Thailand push many women into the flesh trade... When 22-year-old Sandar Kyaw first arrived in Thailand from Burma two months ago, she worked 12-hour days, sewing clothing in one of the many garment factories around the border town of Mae Sot. Now she sits in a hot, dimly lit room in a brothel, watching TV with her co-workers, and waiting for a man to pay 500 baht (US $12.50) for one hour of sex with her. With six younger siblings and her parents struggling to make ends meet in Rangoon, making money is her main priority. "I want to save 10,000 baht and go home," she says. Since factory wages for illegal Burmese migrants average roughly 2,000 baht per month, saving such a sum on her sewing wages would have taken months. When her friend suggested they leave the factory for the more lucrative brothel, Sandar Kyaw agreed. Since she retains half her hourly fee, just one customer a day can net her three times her factory wage..."
Author/creator: Kevin R. Manning
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol 11, No. 8
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 06 December 2003


Title: Sex for Export
Date of publication: February 2001
Description/subject: The flesh trade is flourishing along the Thai-Burma border, where the wages of cheap sex are adding to the toll taken by decades of poverty and military conflict. Tachilek, a border town in the Burmese sector of the Golden Triangle, has a reputation for many things, few of them good. Most recently in the media spotlight as the center of a pitched battle between Thai, Burmese and ethnic insurgent forces that has claimed lives on both sides of the border, Tachilek is best known as a major conduit for opium and methamphetamines flowing out of Burma. It also has a Thai-owned casino and a thriving black market in everything from pirated VCDs to tiger skins and Burmese antiques. But stroll across the Friendship Bridge from Mae Sai, Thailand, and would-be guides will waste no time making sure you don’t miss the main attraction. "Phuying, phuying," they whisper in Thai, clutching photos of Tachilek’s very own Shwedagon pagoda and other local sights. "Phuying, suay maak," they repeat: "Girls, very beautiful."
Author/creator: Neil Lawrence
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Victims Or Players?
Date of publication: February 2001
Description/subject: "Are young Burmese girls working in the brothels of Thailand victims or players in the lucrative sex trade? Perhaps a look at two typical cases can shed light on this question..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw in Mae Sai, Chiang Mai & Min Zin in Ranong
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 9. No. 2
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: "MIGRATING WITH HOPE": Burmese Women Working in Thailand and The Sex Industry
Date of publication: July 1997
Description/subject: "...This report, "Migrating With Hope: Burmese Women Working In Thailand and The Sex Industry" attempts to present and highlight the needs, interests, and realities of undocumented migrant women from Burma working as sex-workers in Thailand. We look at the lives of women in Burma, the migration processes, processes of entry into the sex-industry, and factors which govern women's wellbeing or suffering during the time of migration in Thailand. The authors hope that the documentation presented will provide useful information to prospective migrants from Burma. We also hope that it can be used to instigate programmes to protect the rights of and to provide the necessary services for undocumented migrant workers, and by doing this, prevent more Burmese women from being exploited. This report is written in the knowledge that women can become empowered to make informed choices about their lives. It is also hoped that this report will provide the general public with information not only about Burmese migrant women, but also about the situation of undocumented migrant workers who flee from Burma, a country ruled by a military regime..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: Images Asia
Format/size: pdf (284K)
Date of entry/update: 19 May 2005