Prostitution in Macau

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Casino Lisboa, Macau. "Scores of legally tolerated prostitutes, many of whom live in the casino's hotel, circle the Lisboa's public areas."[1]

There are records of prostitution occurring in Macau during the 19th[2] and 20th centuries.[3] Prostitution is not illegal in Macau[4] as it is in mainland China, because the city is a special administrative region. Macau's economy is based largely on tourism with significant input from gambling casinos, drugs and prostitution[5] which has led to the city being called a Sin City.[1] The Macau administration relies heavily on taxes from prostitution and gambling,[4] which makes the authorities reluctant to reduce the size of the sex industry.[5] Most hotels in Macau do not allow prostitutes to solicit on their property, and typically have suspected prostitutes removed from the premises.[6] However, many of the city's sidewalks and underpasses are littered with prostitutes' calling cards.[4]

Criminal involvement in prostitution in Macau was reported in the 1990s, with Chinese triad members alleged to be arranging marriages of convenience with Portuguese prostitutes in order to secure Portuguese citizenship.[7] The control of street prostitution by criminal syndicates has occasionally led to violent conflicts. Syndicates from China are said to lure women from mainland China to work as prostitutes in Macau with false advertisements for casino jobs, work as dancers, or other types of legitimate employment.[8] There are allegations that women are also trafficked to Macau for prostitution from Mongolia, Russia, Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Burma, Central Asia[9] and South Africa.[10][4] According to the United States embassy in Ulaan Bator, estimates of Mongolian sex workers in Macau vary from 200-300 women.[11] Macau has been put on a U.S. State Department watch list for human trafficking.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Coonan, Clifford (July 25, 2009). "China's sin city: Inside the world's biggest gambling den". The Independent (London). Retrieved 22 August 2014. 
  2. ^ Melissa Hope Ditmore (2006). Melissa Hope Ditmore, ed. Encyclopedia of prostitution and sex work, Volume 1 (illustrated ed.). Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 212. ISBN 0-313-32969-9. Retrieved 29 February 2012. By 1845, the total number of prostitutes increased, to 123. Most were Chinese, with a minority of them being Portuguese (the Portuguese colony of Macao was near), or other nationalities. At those times, prostitutes concentrated in the 
  3. ^ Roy Rowan (2008). Chasing the Dragon: A Veteran Journalist's Firsthand Account of the 1946-9 Chinese Revolution (illustrated ed.). Globe Pequot. p. 172. ISBN 1-59921-477-6. Retrieved 29 February 2012. The Central was Macao's glittering gambling casino, packed every night with Portuguese prostitutes, high rollers from Hong Kong, and hundreds of Chinese playing fan tan, their favorite card game. 
  4. ^ a b c d Katie Hunt (18 June 2013). "The dark side of Asia's gambling Mecca". CNN. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  5. ^ a b Leonard, Barry (2010). Asian Transnational Organized Crime and Its Impact on the United States. DIANE Publishing. p. 10. ISBN 9781437929201. 
  6. ^ "Prostitution Solicitations OK At Lisboa Hotel Macau". 2013-10-22. Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  7. ^ Kenneth Hugh De Courcy, John De Courcy (1978). Intelligence digest, Volume 1996. Intelligence International Ltd. Retrieved 29 February 2012. Triads in Portugal. Sources in Lisbon say that Chinese triad gangs from the Portuguese colony of Macau are setting up in Portugal ahead of the handover of Macau to China in 1999. Security sources fear that as many as 1000 triad members could settle in Portugal. They are already involved in securing Portuguese citizenship for Macau residents by arranging marriages of convenience with Portuguese prostitutes. 
  8. ^ Hao, Zhidong (2011). Macau History and Society. Hong Kong University Press. p. 180. ISBN 9789888028542. 
  9. ^ "Human Trafficking & Modern-day Slavery". GVnet. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  10. ^ "SA a human-trafficking hot spot, conference hears". Mail & Guardian. 18 October 2007. Retrieved 15 August 2014. 
  11. ^ "Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report for Mongolia". 13 March 2006. Retrieved 16 December 2014.