The Haji Taib enclave is bounded by Sri Amar Road, Raja Laut Road, Chow Kit Lane and Tuanku Abdul Rahman Road in Kuala Lumpur. Inside this rectangular area, where Lorong Haji Taib 1 and Lorong Haji Taib 2 are parallel, wholesalers and retailers of toys, fruits, luggage, handbags and industrial equipment occupy the shophouses. When these traders close in the evening, another kind of business unfolds. From the first and upper floors of the shophouses where they stay, transsexuals (often referred to as ‘pondan’ or ‘mak nyah’ in Malay language) come down to solicit clients for sexual services.
I start my tour at 11 pm, after parking my car in the basement of Plaza Hotel on Raja Laut Road. Crossing Sri Amar Road, I proceed to Lorong Haji Taib 2 and stroll along the covered pedestrian walkway of shophouse blocks. Several shemales are huddled in sororities outside staircase entrances. As I pass a lone transsexual, she keeps observing me, hoping for a cue. But her masculinity – broad shoulders, angular jawline and small buttocks – nauseates me and I look straight ahead.
Further ahead stand a pair of feminine-looking shemales. When I glance at them, the first girl asks me in Malay, ‘Want to play with me? My room’s just upstairs.’ Her face is caked with thick makeup and red lipstick and her husky voice jolts me. She is dressed in a t-shirt and jeans and strappy sandals.
‘How much?’ I ask, looking at the Adam’s apple in her throat.
‘Fifty.’ She stands almost five feet, six inches tall, and long hair that ends in waves flows down her shoulders.
In its outward appearance and official laws Malaysia is a very conservative country that has completely outlawed prostitution. However, legislation against the sale of sex hasn’t eliminated the practice in Malaysia anymore than than it has in any other country that has taken similar steps. The world’s oldest profession remains resilient.
Kuala Lumpur is the capital of Malaysia and the epicenter of its large commercial sex industry. Even the short time visitor is likely to come across it in some form even if they aren’t searching it out or necessarily aware of what’s in front of them. Here’s a run down.
The city is littered with run of the mill massage parlors though the numbers don’t approach cities like Bangkok and Pattaya where every street has a few. Many of these massage parlors will offer hands-on happy endings and a select few will offer even more. Unlike many other massage parlors around the world, fees and even tips at these establishments are often requested up front.
The most well known street for massage parlors is Jalan Pudu. While not every service provider at every shop on that street offers extras, many do. Some of the masseuses are from Thailand and can perform really good legitimate massages which is rare for venues with extended menus.
Massages typically cost 60 Ringgit per hour and extras usually start at an additional 50 Ringgit. These massage parlors aren’t the nicest places around but they aren’t the worst either. Places with tinted windows and locked doors that buzz customers in one by one are obviously more likely to be keyed in to lonely guys than well lit flowery establishments.
As massage Kuala Lumpur seems to be a popular topic of conversation among the men in Kuala Lumpur and male tourists visiting the capital city, I've decided to write something about it although I'm not an expert in this area. I asked my friend James Lee (not his real name), who is a self professed "connoisseur" in this area.
James is a building materials salesman living in KL and he spends a lot of his time entertaining business associates at massages centres in Kuala Lumpur. He tells me that he has visited close to 300 massage centres in Malaysia and about 200 of those are located in KL. One has just have to ask James about massage in KL and he will go on an on about his escapades.
Just to point out to the uninitiated: "Massage Kuala Lumpur" is not a special massage technique but a topic about massage services offered in the Malaysian capital.
Although the practice of massage therapy has seen its dawn in many parts of the world for many centuries, it has progressively succumbed to a bad reputation associated with sexual immorality.
Many ancient texts referring to massage have been traced to older civilizations like Rome, Greece, Japan, China, Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and empires in the Malay Archipelago. In these cultures, massage was not merely tolerated, but encouraged - it was part of everyday life.
With these cultures evolved different massage techniques: traditional Chinese massage, Thai massage, Shiatsu, Reflexology, Ayurvedic massage, Stone massage, Swedish massage, Watsu, Blind massage, Malay traditional massage, East Malaysian indigenous traditional massage so on and so forth. Some combine traditional and modern techniques for the best effects.
Malaysia, especially in cities like Kuala Lumpur, has in recent years seen an unprecedented growth of massage parlours. Massage therapy, once only sought by Malaysian men, have become increasingly popular with women as well.
‘I accepted his friendship, and we started dating regularly. One day, he took me to his apartment, and we made love. On that first session, he noticed I was different from a woman. I guess he must’ve slept around with many prostitutes; otherwise, he wouldn’t be so which silicone implants had been inserted into my chest. He confronted me as to my real gender, and I confessed to him I was formerly a male.’
She spoons a slice of hard-boiled egg into her mouth and continues: ‘At first, he cried in my arms, said he was extremely sad as he deeply loved me; later, he got angry with me and accused me of having cheated him. I assured him I had been a female emotionally and mentally since I was a child, female in every way except for physically. I told him I was not capable of loving a woman but a man. In the end, he said he was confused and asked me to leave him alone. Two weeks later, he called me. He said since I could not give him children, there was no hope of me becoming his life partner. I got depressed again.
‘To forget him, I came to KL, and took a hairdressing course. This is my fourth month here, and I work in a salon. At night I street-walk this area but as this is low-class, I won’t be around long. Maybe I’ll go to Phuket or Pattaya to work in an a-go-go bar. Over there, people like us are much in demand by the mat salleh (white men), but competition is stiff from the kateoys. Maybe, I’ll meet a mat salleh lover who will understand me and marry me. See how things go. Or I may consider opening a hairdressing salon if I have the capital.’
‘How much do you make a night?’
‘One hundred fifty to two hundred ringgit.’ She winces, dissolving her feminine expression, causing a feathery chill across my skin. ‘But not every night. Sometimes, on a rainy night, I don’t get a single customer.’
Kok Keong, a twenty-something-year old factory supervisor, explains in Cantonese dialect: ‘Before I started patronizing this place, I’ve heard ah kua (Cantonese for ‘transsexual’) perform oral sex better than women because they adore the male organ. So I tried and found it’s true.
Ever since, I’ve been coming here regularly. However, I’m careful. Ah kua are bigger liars and cheats compared to female prostitutes. Last time, I got overcharged – it was like extortion. She was so beautiful, priced at sixty only, and I couldn’t resist her. After playing, she asked for an additional thirty ringgit for the room, two ringgit for using the bath towel and five for the condom and tissues.
Her demands shocked me. I’d forgotten to ask whether the price included those things. Two other ah kuas – real big-sized and manly in physique – were in the other room, so I’d no choice but to pay up. You know, an ah kua is as strong as a man. Since that incident, I’ve realized it’s risky to go up to an ah kua’s apartment, so now I get a room in a budget hotel.’
‘Yuck! I tried a pondan once, and the experience turned me off,’ says Lawrence, a thirty-five-year-old sales executive. ‘I picked her up at the night market. That was my first time here. She looked extremely sexy, long shapely legs, luscious brown hair and lovely eyes. But when she undressed, I almost fainted. She wore men’s briefs because she hadn’t gone for a sex-change operation. Her breasts were small and her nipples hard like cherries as she’d not been taking sufficient hormone pills. After she had performed oral sex on me, she offered her behind, but I declined to use it. Overall, her naked body almost made me puke.
After that incident, I couldn’t sleep for two nights. I felt queer. Then I had to seek out a female prostitute to feel normal again. The fault’s mine actually. I should’ve enquired whether she was pre-op or post-op. But I still come to seek post-op transsexuals.’
‘How long is your relationship?’
‘Almost two years.’
‘Your friends know about her?’
‘Yes, I took her to Dinty’s and Minnal several times when I went drinking with them. Later, one of my friends told my parents.’
‘How did that friend know Helen’s a transsexual?’
‘Yes, she’s pre-op so her voice’s slightly rough. Her height’s around five feet, six inches.’
‘Then what happened?’
‘This won’t work out, Lingam, my best friend and drinking buddy, said to me later. "You’re not gay or a bisexual." He has seen the girls I dated over the years. "She isn’t a man," I said to him. Lingam rolled his eyes. "You don’t like tomboys, you like feminine girls." I told him Helen responds to me as a woman in every way. And she’s never asked me for money before.’
‘How did your parents react when you told them?’
‘I didn’t tell them. My appa (dad) confronted me instead. When I admitted it was true, he said, "She can’t give you babies, you know?" I retorted to my appa: "If womanhood is equated to bearing children, what about women who’re barren? What about men who need drugs to perform? Are they only half-men? Psychologically, Helen’s a woman, like Amma (Mama)". My appa hollered, "Don’t you dare compare her with Amma! She’s a normal woman." I just kept quiet.’
‘You’re facing several challenges in this relationship. Do you see any advantages in having a transgender girlfriend?’ We are now strolling into a cave whose walls are filled with verses of Tamil poems.
‘A transsexual is more faithful to her boyfriend compared to a real girl.’ He pauses and laughs. ‘She doesn’t menstruate so we can have sex every day – anyway, I was just joking. Honestly, she makes great efforts to look sexy since she competes with real girls. She’s also more accommodating.’
‘What’s your long-term plan?’
‘Once I’ve saved enough, I’ll sponsor her sex-change operation. I also want her to stop her escorting work. Perhaps, I’ll set up a salon for her. Actually, I told her to quit earlier. But she says she needs the extra money.’
‘You’re a liar!’ She manoeuvres to the other side of the bed and clicks the laptop’s mouse twice. ‘That’s your browsing history. Intermediate Mandarin Lessons! You’ve been logging into that site frequently. Why the sudden interest?’
‘Common, I was planning a vacation to China – you, me the kids.’
‘Don’t think I’m a fool.’ She takes out his cell phone from her pajama pocket and presses a button. An image of a long-haired girl, no older than in her late twenties, appears on the screen. ‘Who’s this? Half naked with a towel! What kind of girl would allow you to take such pictures?’
A loud snapping noise comes from the kitchen. A rat biting the bait of a trap triggers the hold-down bar, releasing the spring-loaded hammer arm. It swings down with a deadly force, breaking the neck of the rodent.
With one blunder after another, Jimmy Tong realizes he is dead meat. His chin quivers. ‘It—it—was just a short fling. She was just a hooker. She means nothing to me. She’s gone back.’
‘But that whore will be back, right?’ Lily stands up, stares down at Jimmy, her arms akimbo.
Six months tumble along. Anyone walking into the main prayer hall of the Thean Hou Temple will notice a man kneeling down at the altar, his hands neatly folded in his lap. He kneels straight with dignity before the Goddess of the Sea, though his clothes are soiled and his hair is disheveled. He is ruined financially, divorced and stays alone.
A string of expletives brings me back to the present, and my mental images enacting Jimmy’s past melts away.
‘My China girlfriend screwed up my life!’ Jimmy says. ‘I was so stupid to trust her.’ The wind blows his face, softening his features, and he takes a few deep breaths.
Jimmy and I are standing in the rock garden at the back of the Thean Hou Temple. He now comes here frequently to meditate. He blinks a couple of times and gazes blankly at the stone statue of Goddess Guan Yin carrying a water pitcher.
‘What might have happened if she hadn’t disappeared?’
‘I guess I’d have kept her as a short-term mistress.’
‘You know anyone else who was cheated by a China doll?’
Zhao proceeds to a bus-stand shelter. She glances sideways at Jiang and asks, ‘How’s working condition there?’
Presently, they are standing under the green tempered-glass roof of the bus stand.
‘The pay is slightly higher compared to other factories. The canteen food’s subsidized, so it’s cheap to eat there.’ She looks at Zhao as if oblivious to the passing traffic while the latter is constantly looking out for her bus. ‘Last time, I discreetly packed food home, though it’s disallowed. The production manager of the first shift is fierce. But she’s given to flattery. If you know how to handle her, she’s helpful. Bonus is paid middle of the year. I hope we can be friends.’
Jiang gives Zhao Mi her telephone number. They leave on separate buses. Several days later, Zhao receives a letter stating her application is successful. She starts to phone Jiang to talk about work-related matters. Soon, they develop a friendship, and would meet in an exercise park regularly for strolls and to eat at roadside hawker stalls. A candid conversation takes place one morning during breakfast at a street stall.
‘Do you know any way for me to earn extra money?’ Zhao asks as she empties a bowl of youtiao (Chinese crullers) pieces into her fish congee.
Jiang sops a mantou (bun) in sweetened condensed milk and tears off a morsel with her teeth. ‘What do you want to do?’
‘Something that I can do on my own time.’
Her friend leans forward slightly. ‘Do you have a boyfriend?’
‘No.’ She lifts a spoonful of congee to her mouth.
Jiang’s lips twist into a rather unsightly shape. ‘Why don’t you sell your virginity?’
Zhao looks sideways at the ground. She does not reply.
‘Times are different now,’ Jiang says. ‘Many girls in the cities are no longer virgins when they marry. I can find customers for you.’ Her tone is like the exposed face of an escarpment. ‘I’ll get the highest possible price for you. But you give me forty percent commission.’
Rina goes to the bathroom, turns on the tap and pours two capfuls of bubble bath inside the long bathrub. When it is half full with foamy water, Leo and Rina doff their clothes and climb in. Rina moans as he traces a caress down her body, reaching below the water and creating little waves.
A meow startles them. A black cat with a bushy tail walks into the bathroom and sits facing the bathtub.
Rina stifles her laugh. ‘Goodness, I’ve forgotten that Tommy likes to follow me everywhere.’
‘Your cat’s staring at us!’ Leo says.
‘Oh, don’t bother with him. He’s just curious.’
‘I’m sorry, I can’t continue. I feel very self-conscious.’
Rina gets up from the long bathtub. She picks Tommy up with her wet hands but the cat struggles, extending its claws. Rina releases her feline friend and it lands in the bathtub with a loud splash. Tommy’s pleading meows mutate into growls.
Leo grabs Tommy and hands it over to Rina. He sneezes. ‘I’m allergic to cats! Their fur.’
Naked and dripping water, Rina dries the cat with a towel and locks it in a cage in a corner of the kitchen. She and Leo shower to wash off the foam and cat hair, dry themselves and enter the bedroom.
Giggling like teenagers, they climb on the bed and Leo starts to kiss Rina. The bedroom door opens. Leo, startled, pulls his lips away from Rina and turns around. A naked girl with a 90-60-90 body walks in. Her face is round and so is her chin and cheeks. A grin splits her full lips, painted cherry-red. Her features convey a friendly demeanour.
‘This is my friend Nur,’ Rina says, her body relaxed, her eyes gazing at Leo. ‘Want to take both of us together?’
Nur smiles and approaches the bed. ‘Have you done it with two girls before?’
Leo is stumped. ‘I – I –.’
She flops on the bed on her stomach, and supports herself on her elbows. ‘Don’t be shy.’ Her hand starts to stroke him from his chest down to his thighs.
Charles Chow and I are travelling to a shophouse in Puchong. Raindrops are hitting the road so hard that they shatter and bounce back up in little ring patterns like tiny figures in white tutus dancing on the road surface. He manages to find a parking lot after circling a block of shops. Carrying umbrellas, we slosh through rain water on the tarmac to the covered pedestrian walkway.
We goose-step to a lot with a signboard that says ‘Li Jin Reflexology Centre’ and stomp up the stairs. We push open a tinted glass door to enter a bright room about the size of a badminton court. On one wall is a foot reflexology chart measuring three feet by five feet. Seven ladies, dressed in all manner of titillation, are sitting on two couches set against a wall. Ten reclining chairs and a chestnut-coloured counter make up the other furniture. At the counter, the pimp – with a pompadour of brown hair – grins, nods at us and straightens up. His bronzed arms are a rolling terrain of muscle and tattoo ink.
Charles approaches the flesh-peddler, and I stand beside him. ‘What services you have?’ he asks. ‘I mean, apart from reflexology, anything else?’
‘We have special and authentic services,’ says the pimp, his voice like a motorcycle’s rumble. ‘Number two, number four and number six are trained in reflexology. But they can give hand job. But if you want a sex reflexology package, try number sixty-nine.’ He points with a thrust of his jaw towards a willowy woman around thirty years old. ‘She’s performs the helicopter.’
‘Helicopter sex is famous in Shanghai. Very hard to get in KL. Only lou chiok (veterans) can perform this act.’ The pimp raises a finger, twirls it above his head and chortles, displaying crooked teeth. ‘Will be an exciting new experience for you.’
Fei Chai, a thirty-year-old IT hardware trader from Kuala Lumpur, feels goose bumps crawling on his skin as he lies on a mattress covered with a plastic sheet. He pulls the cotton towel over his body. The massage room, fitted with a shower booth, resembles a brothel.
Ten minutes earlier, Luna Urut Batin Centre’s owner, Pak Agus, a man with a goatee, recommended to Fei Chai the VIP Package which costs 300 malaysian ringgit. It included ‘sexflexology’, urut batin (genital massage) and a thirty-minute treatment using a suction vacuum pump.
‘I’m not impotent,’ Fei Chai said.
‘The vacuum pump’s not only to cure impotency,’ Pak Agus replied. ‘It improves erection and increases the size of the member. This is one hundred percent safe. Better than taking drugs, which increase the heart beat. Many men have died of a heart attack because of these drugs.’ Out of curiosity, Fei Chai agrees.
The masseuse enters the room with a basket. Her long layered hair, high cheek bones, red lips and dark-blue eye-shadow proclaim she is no village bumpkin. ‘My name’s Cathy,’ she says. ‘I’m from Jakarta.’ Her lips look like red plum.
She sits next to the edge of the mattress and puts the basket next to her. Her brown pleated skirt and short-sleeved pink top complements her complexion. She starts off with ‘sexflexology’ by pinching the meridian points of his toes and soles of his feet, causing him to groan in pain.
Then, she takes a thermos flask, removes the cap and pours some hot water on three pieces of cotton towels. She wraps the hot towels around his genitals.
‘Massage?’ asks a tall girl with peroxide blond hair, no older than in her late twenties, who trails us as we pass her shop. Inside, two bored-looking girls, are lounging in their own reflexology chairs.
We stop about ten paces away. ‘Can be happy?’ Ivan asks.
She smiles. ‘How you want to be happy?’ Her lips are thick and fleshy.
‘Yes, can.’ Her eyes, squinty and bright, move from side to side.
‘Sex and reflexology, one hundred and thirty ringgit.’
‘No, I must pay thirty as reflexology charges to my boss.’
‘We look around first.’ Ivan looks at the signboard and mentally notes its name.
‘She’s seems to be the best, but let’s finish our round first,’ he says to me.
Half an hour later, after surveying six more centres, we return to the shop with the peroxide blonde. Her red lips stretch from ear to ear when she sees us.
‘I’ll take the reflexology,’ I say.
‘I’m going for the happy package,’ Ivan tells her. She leads him away from the shop.
Stepping in, I sit on the reflexology chair and remove my socks and shoes. After wiping my feet with a hot, wet towel, a short girl starts to thump my calves with her fist. Then she starts to twist her fist into my soles.
Twenty minutes later, Ivan and the peroxide blonde come back to the shop. His forehead is bruised.
He gives me a vivid account. Earlier, the peroxide blonde leads him to a shop with tinted glass. There is no signboard. She looks around to make no one is watching and unlocks the door. The shop is divided into curtained areas, each containing a massage table. He and the peroxide blonde climb on a massage table measuring, according to his estimate, two by five feet. During their spirited love-making, Ivan falls off the massage table, hitting his forehead on the floor.
The peroxide blonde laughs. ‘I told your friend not to try difficult positions. But he wouldn’t listen!’
I lean back in the high-backed chair in my study, while my cat Stumpy curls at my feet. Earlier, in a restaurant in Chinatown, I chatted separately with Ismail, a twenty-eight- year-old factory supervisor from Bolton Industrial Estate, and Ah Lek, a thirty-year-old hawker of Alor Road, on their experiences in red-light districts. I switch on my MP4 player and listen to the recording of their recollections, and my imagination churns up colourful images.
Ismail strides to a row of shophouses on Thamipillai Road. Bamboo blinds partially conceal the entrances to the brothels in the shophouses. But the touts hanging around indicate the vice dens are open for business. Another block of shophouses across the drag is taken up by massage centres, coffee shops, hardware stores, a dangdut lounge and more brothels.
He approaches the nearest vice den, and a tout pushes a folding iron-door open for him to enter. Behind him the door closes, and he walks up a flight of steps to the first floor. The air is stale. Ismail speculates that the windows have not been opened for years. In the front section, four prostitutes, aged over forty, are seated at the doorways of their rooms. The pimp, a grey-haired Chinese in shorts and a short-sleeved floral shirt, gesticulates with his hands and tells him the prices. ‘That woman’s fifty. This one’s sixty – two way. Over there, that woman’s forty...’ Not only they are fat and ugly, they’re old enough to be his mother. He takes a sweeping glance and walks to the back. The quality of the flesh again repels him.
He pops into the next brothel and surveys the merchandise. Though there is an improvement, he goes away, enters the next cathouse until all the dozen or more establishments are surveyed.
Ismail proceeds to Padang Road, goes into a brothel through the front door, and skirts a rotting particle-board partition in a corridor. He ambles down the passageway. On both sides are rooms occupied by hookers.
Asia is too massive and diverse to conceptualize as a single digestible travel destination.
Asia offers very diverse travel options. There are ultra modern, largely democratic countries like Japan and the East Asian Tigers of Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and South Korea which are very prosperous and in which people enjoy very high standards of living. On the other hand, Afghanistan, Laos and East Timor are extremely poor countries where people struggle even to get a few grains of rice each day.
Of course, there are also many countries lying somewhere in the middle, such as the emerging powerhouses of China and India which make wonderful travel destinations in themselves due to their long history, size and diversity. Thailand is a magnet for travellers, with great food, a tropical climate, fascinating culture and great beaches.
Asia also contains North Korea, suffering under one of, if not the most, oppressive regimes in the world and, therefore, very safe for travellers.
The legality of prostitution in Asia varies by country. In Asia, the main characteristic of the region is the very big discrepancy between the laws which exist on the books and what occurs in practice. For example, in Thailand prostitution is illegal, but in practice it is tolerated and regulated, and the country is a destination for sex tourism.
The World Health Organization has called for the decriminalisation of sex work as a means of combating HIV/AIDS. The Asian region has the lowest incidence (5.2%).
‘Come, follow me,’ she says, with a jerk of her head. Her hair is secured in a bun with a red barrette.
Ah Lek saunters after the lady-pimp for about twenty paces and enters a budget hotel. They start to pass the reception area where a hotel-keeper, a Chinese man in his fifties, is sitting behind a shellacked wooden counter.
Ah Lek throws a glance at him and their eyes meet for a moment. The old man glowers at him and shakes his head. The geezer’s body language causes a momentary tensing of Ah Lek’s body.
The lady-pimp and Ah Lek enter a room on the first floor. Though small, it is fitted with a double bed, a chair, a closet and a droning air-conditioner. A tall, big-boned girl with a mass of thick dark curls is sitting on the bed, legs in lotus position, and reading a magazine. She’s wearing a red skirt and a plaid shirt, and glances up at Ah Lek for a moment.
Ah Lek stiffens his posture and turns to look at the chocolate-coloured woman. ‘She looks a bit like you. Is she your daughter?’
‘Don’t bother whether she’s my daughter or not. You want to take her or not? Price is two hundred ringgit. Eighteen years old only.’
Ah Lek gazes at the girl’s langsat-coloured thighs, and he unconsciously parts his lips. ‘I don’t have two hundred with me. One hundred and fifty?’
‘No, one hundred and eighty ringgit.’
Ah Lek suddenly chortles. ‘Okay, agreed, hundred and eighty.’
His laugh makes the hooker gape at him, and he catches sight of her face again. Ah Lek is about to reach for his wallet when a gut feeling makes him hesitate and he asks her, ‘Adik (Sister), can I see your I.C.?’
Kuala Lumpur, or simply called KL by locals, is the federal capital and the largest city in Malaysia. Literally meaning muddy river confluence in Malay, Kuala Lumpur has grown from a small sleepy Chinese tin-mining village to a bustling metropolis of around 6.5 million (city-proper population of 1.8 million) in just 150 years. Kuala Lumpur is cultural melting pot with some of the world's cheapest 5-star hotels, impressive shopping districts, even better food and some of nature's wonders just an hour away, making this a dynamic city with much to offer.
Prostitution is illegal in Malaysia. Demand for prostitution has created a problem of people trafficking from China and other nearby countries. Sexual services, however, are widely available and laws banning prostitution remain largely unenforced.
Kuala Lumpur is a dynamic place and a nice size. It is quite developed and safe with wonderful parks. Indians, Chinese and Malays all inhabit this pleasurable city. This would be a fantastic city to hang out in if it wasn’t for the exoberant alcohol tax. KL is very active city for mongers.
Malaysian law is pretty strict on native Malay muslims drinking, as a result it is unlikely to encounter Malay girls at night. That said, plenty of Chinese and Indian girls do indulge. Malay girls have darker skin than other ethnic groups on the peninsula and many are extremely attractive and feminine. If you want to meet a nice Malay woman, your best bet is Borneo as East Malaysia is considerably more conservative. One positive about Kuala Lumpur is that English is widely understood due to the ethnic mix. Kuala Lumpur is also great place to meet some stunning Chinese girls, many of whom are independent and well-educated. KL is also home to many are Filipinas and Vietnamese women. While many work here legitimately, others come to the city to work as in-call escorts and prostitutes.
As in many other Asian big capital cities, some Kuala Lumpur escorts have also started to advertise their services in internet. There are several escort services available throughout Klang Valley. They advertise openly both through the internet and in the local press along with many freelance workers who also offer their services online and in these newspapers.
Kuala Lumpur has many red light districts. Kuala Lumpur red-light areas are big sex centers. Many tourists, expats and locals visit these district to have some adult fun. These places start to get crowd in late evenings.
Here are listed three main red-light districts in Kuala Lumpur to find sex. You can find many low-end hookers from the area and also high-end escorts:
Jalan Bukit Bintang - Red light district is a place for sex workers to find business gentlemen. Massage parlors, brothels, and street walkers can all be found around this area.
Lorong Haji Taib - is packed with little brothels and third class girls - mainly Indian.
Chow Kit - is known for its red-light district as well as for its nightly gathering of ladyboys.
In Kuala Lumpur, lower class brothels and prostitutes are mostly located in Jalan Alor, Jalan Hicks and Jalan Bukit Bintang all in the Bukit Bintang area, and in Jalan Thambipillay, in the Brickfields area. These, as well as the infamous red-light district of Lorong Haji Taib and Chow Kit is the hub for prostitution in Kuala Lumpur.
Higher class prostitutes or call girls (sometimes also called escorts) normally ply their trade at nightspots in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Horley and Jalan Imbi. With the influx of prostitutes from China, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, the local girls are getting the run for their money. Of all these foreigner women, those from China (locally called China Girls) seem to have entrepreneurial advantage - read How "China Dolls" Make Money In Malaysia.
There is a huge disparity in the earnings of a high class prostitute and a lower end hooker in Kuala Lumpur. A high class call girl with a regular clients would be able to earn as much as RM2,000 per night, or even more. She often also works as a Guest Relations Officer (GRO) at an exclusive karaoke lounge to solicit for clients and earn a salary with tips as well. However, life is different for hookers operating at Lorong Haji Taib or Chow Kit. They generally earn just enough for the basic living necessities. They would be lucky to earn RM50 a night. Some supplement their income working as GROs for tips in budget karaoke lounges locally called papaya farms.
Prostitutes in Malaysia not only ply their trade in nightspots and hotels but also double up as masseuse (locally referrd to as massage girls) working at massage parlours, Spa, health centres etc in the city centre.
Chow Kit is also known for its red-light district as well as for its nightly gathering of transwomen. You can find ladyboy escorts in Kuala Lumpur advertising their services in internet. If you cannot find anyone online, you can always visit Chow Kit area. It is usually best to use the in-call TS-escort services as they are often the most safest option.
Over the past two decades the public has become increasingly concerned about the problem of human trafficking. Fueled by images of women and children forced into the global sex trade, policymakers and advocates have lobbied for laws and policies to combat the spread of sex trafficking. Chinese and other Asian Women, for example, Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur and the Realities of Prostitution and Global Sex Trafficking, Ko-Lin Chin and James Finckenauer, professors of criminal justice at Rutgers University, shed important light on the nature of transnational prostitution and the degree of human trafficking that exists in this clandestine industry.
In 2000, the United Nations adopted the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children. That same year the U.S. Congress passed the Victims of Human Trafficking and Violence Prevention Act (TVPA). The TVPA criminalized both sex and labor trafficking and provided significant resources for the identification and protection of victims. Similar laws have been passed in over one hundred different counties and in the U.S. all fifty states have adopted legislation criminalizing human trafficking. Despite passage of new laws and the devotion of attention and resources to combat sex trafficking, we know very little about the true nature or scope of the problem in the U.S. or worldwide.
Estimates of the number sex trafficking victims vary widely and are often based on little solid data. Much of what we know about sex trafficking comes from official reports of human trafficking cases investigated by the police or stories from victims who were identified by victim service providers trained to work with human trafficking survivors. Those who seek assistance from the police or social services may be very different from those who do not. As a result, our understanding of how women and girls became involved in prostitution and the extent of exploitation involved in their experience may be biased. In the face of little empirical data about the nature, scope or magnitude of human trafficking, anti-trafficking policy has been largely guided by anecdote.
Missing from the anti-trafficking discourse is empirical data about the nature of sex trafficking. Important questions remain about the prevalence of human trafficking victims among those engaged in various commercial sex markets across different cultural contexts. Sex trafficking and prostitution are not one in the same. Under U.S. law, an adult is considered a victim of sex trafficking when they are forced, deceived or coerced into prostitution, while children induced into commercial sex are all considered to be victims. Researchers generally have not gained the type of access to commercial sex markets that is necessary to determine the frequency and characteristics of sex trafficking in commercial sex operations. Further, we lack important basic information about the organization and connection of commercial sex operations to other illicit industries such as smuggling.
As it was written before - we were in the Malaysian capital in Kuala Lumpur city.
Ah Lek drags himself away and saunters down a corridor where rooms are located on both sides. The doors of two rooms are shut, but their ceiling fans are rotating. He knows the tootsies are engaged. He walks to an open area where two working ladies are sitting on a long wooden bench, and drops between them. A plump girl puts an arm over his shoulder, and he smiles. Suddenly, the girl twists to his lap and rests her head on his chest. Ah Lek’s face gleams with ecstasy over her shoulder.
The pockmarked-faced pimp shrieks, displaying two gold teeth, ‘Ah! This girl's playful. I played with her before. Only thirty.’
The plump girl jumps from his lap and pulls Ah Lek’s hands. ‘Come! Come to my room.’
Smiling so as not to offend her and shaking his head, Ah Lek breaks free from her grip and returns to the bench. ‘Let me look at the other two girls first.’
Fifteen minutes pass and the door of one room opens. Out steps the customer, a young foreigner, either a Myanmar national or Vietnamese. Ah Lek goes to the room and sticks his head in. Inside sits a chestnut-skinned girl of not more than twenty-five. She is attired in a denim skirt and a tee-shirt, and from her neck hangs a string of colourful beads.
‘She’s new,’ the pockmarked-faced pimp says, standing behind him.
‘Forty only. Slow, slow can play.’
Natalya lives in a small village in Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Eastern Europe. A single mother of two young girls, she must also take care of her sick brother, and struggles to find work in her economically depressed town.
Natalya’s neighbor Katerina tells her of an employment opportunity in Odessa, Ukraine, with a local bar owner. Katerina says she can get Natalya work as a waitress in a bar and offers, for a fee, to help arrange Natalya’s travel to the northern port city.
Within a few weeks, Natalya is on a plane to Odessa, eager to make money and support her brother and daughters. However, once she arrives, Natalya realizes that she has been horribly deceived — that there never was a bar, or waitress job, and that Katerina—her neighbor and friend—has helped to sell her into sexual slavery.
The bar owner turns out to be a small-time criminal and pimp, and the bar is his brothel. Before she has time to process what’s happened, Natalya’s passport is confiscated and she is driven from the airport to a cramped apartment where she and a dozen other young women will stay for the duration of her servitude.
Natalya has her first taste of the violence and degradation to follow when she is raped by the pimp who claims he must "try out the goods." Before long, she is forced to service more than a dozen clients a day—business men, locals, and tourists—interested in quick sex for cash.
After several months of sexual abuse and physical violence, Natalya is mentally and emotionally destroyed, resigned to her situation. She no longer dreams of going home. She is broken.
What Is Sex Trafficking in Malaysia? Within the space of just three years, in different parts of the world, three women were brought to justice for their roles in what has become a high profile form of global crime.
There are a number of common threads among these women and their cases. They exemplify in microcosm a host of issues that surround the illicit movement of people around the world. As such, they provide a kind of backdrop for the theme and focus of this book.
Perhaps the best known of the three cases is that of Cheng Chui-ping, or, as she is better known, Sister Ping. Sister Ping was an international human smuggler—in Chinese, a shetou or snakehead. 1 She charged tens of thousands of dollars to assist illegal Chinese emigrants to come to the United States. It was Sister Ping who was one of the masterminds behind the infamous Golden Venture (the name of a smuggling ship) incident in which hundreds of Chinese illegals were unloaded into the ocean off Long Island in 1993—ten of whom drowned after the ship ran aground. 2 Described as the Mother of All Snakeheads, Sister Ping is estimated to have made some $40 million in her two decades of human smuggling. On June 22, 2005 a federal jury in New York convicted Sister the statutory maximum of thirty-five years in prison for her crimes.
Wei Tang emigrated from China to Australia in 1998. There, she ran a brothel called Club 417, in Melbourne. In June 2006, she too was convicted of crimes, in her case possessing and using sex slaves in her brothel. The sex slaves in question were five Thai women.
According to court documents in the Tang case, the five women had worked in the sex industry in Thailand, and had consented to go to Australia to continue this line of work in Melbourne. Despite this initial consent, the court found that the "debt bondage" nature of Tang’s arrangement with the women constituted slavery, because they were "effectively restrained by the insidious nature of their contract."
Where there have been empirical research studies on sex trafficking, these have mostly been narrowly focused, for example relying on a single type of prostitute, mostly street prostitutes.
As suggested by Anthony DeStefano in his book The War on Human Trafficking, prostitution is a multifaceted industry with a proliferation of high-priced prostitutes, and it is essential to study women in different sex markets to have a nuanced and balanced understanding of the sex trade.
Sociologist Ronald Weitzer likewise argued that "prostitutes vary tremendously in their reasons for entry, access to resources for protection, number and type of clients, freedom to refuse clients and specific sex acts, relationships with colleagues, dependence on and exploitation by third parties, experiences with the authorities, public visibility, and impact on the surrounding community."
One of the shortcomings in the extant body of research on human trafficking, we believe, is the fact that it has included almost exclusively rescued subjects who were in the hands of law enforcement officials, advocates, or service providers.
In a review of more than a hundred scholarly journal articles on human trafficking, Sheldon Zhang found that "only a handful involved some forms of empirical data" and "the information was mostly obtained from law enforcement officials, representatives from advocacy groups, and a few interviews with victims in shelters or ‘safe settings’ as Raymond and Hughes would call them.
Such subjects, we believe, constitute an unrepresentative sample of the larger population of trafficking victims. Not included, for example, are any persons who may have initially been trafficking excluded are any victims who escape on their own without contact or assistance by law enforcement or others, and any victims who fall through the cracks because agency contacts fail to recognize them as being victims.
Trafficking in persons shall mean the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harboring or receipts of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power, or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation. Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labor or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or the removal of the organs.
Soon after, there was an explosion of discussion on the issue of human trafficking. Below are some examples that will illustrate how the nature of sex trafficking was usually depicted and understood. The first is from a report on the movement of Thai women to Japan for commercial sex, prepared by Human Rights Watch:
The intermediaries who arrange these women’s travel and job placement used deception, fraud, and coercion to place them into highly abusive conditions of employment, where they must repay outrageously high "debts" before they can earn wages or gain their freedom. While in debt, women are kept under constant surveillance and forced to satisfy all customers and all customer demands. Disobedience can lead to fines, physical violence, and even "resale" to higher levels of debt. Escape from these conditions is difficult and dangerous, and may lead to violent retaliation.
This depiction includes all the main elements of human trafficking: and selling of victims as commodities. The Natashas, a book by investigative journalist Victor Malarek, depicted the new global sex trade involving women from Eastern Europe — women who came to be known as "Natashas" in the European sex industry. Malarek characterized the Natasha sex trade as follows:
Most end up in situations of incredible debt bondage, unable to earn enough to pay back the high interest on their travel and living expenses. They become victims of the worst possible forms of sexual exploitation. They are not free to leave, nor can they easily escape. They are sold to pimps or brothel owners on the open market, and soon find themselves trapped in abusive situations in which they are forced to have sex with as many as ten, twenty or thirty clients a day. They cannot refuse a customer or a demand. They are not allowed sick days. They do not get time off for their period.
The tools that are available to combat organized crime are rather specialized.
They go beyond what is typically relied upon to go after more run-of-the-mill everyday crime.
Ironically, a mismatch between the law enforcement methods used and the crime they are being used against, means that these specialized tools for combating organized crime are far less effective — in fact may be ineffective—when applied to nonorganized crime.
What is "nonorganized" crime? Well, at least one example would be some of the loose networks of individuals who have so far been like those generally seen to be engaging in human trafficking.
As we will see, they lack most of the characteristics that we tend to associate with "real" organized crime.
On the flip side of the mismatch of methods to problem, using everyday crime fighting techniques has long been shown to be ineffective in dealing with organized crime.
That was why the special tools were developed in the first place. Thus, it is quite important to know just who the enemy is in this case.
What would be signs of organized crime involvement? On one level, the criminal organizations involved in organized crime generally make use of corruption and violence, and they often attempt to gain monopoly control over whatever criminal enterprises they are engaged in.
Their corruption is not low-level, nickel and dime stuff, but instead bribes and payoffs that extend into the upper reaches of law enforcement and politics.
Likewise, violence is used purposely to establish credibility and reliability, in order that the actual use of violence becomes only a limited necessity—reputation alone is enough to intimidate and strike fear into its targets.
Women who engaged in prostitution are obviously vulnerable research subjects, and commercial sex is a clandestine business. Thus, our approach to identifying and approaching possible interview subjects, and then actually interviewing them, had to be done within these parameters. In the identification process, we excluded any women who were under arrest or were otherwise under the control of government authorities. Similarly, we also excluded any women who were being housed or otherwise assisted by various victims’ assistance entities.
Instead, given that the ultimate goal of all sex trafficking is making money, we proceeded on the premise that sex trafficking victims must somehow be engaged in providing sexual services for money. This means they must be in settings or venues that are discernible to and accessible to potential paying clients. They cannot, in other words, be so hidden as to be completely inaccessible.
We do not deny that accessibility may in some instances be so limited, such as for example in the case of child victims, that we would not learn about them. But child victims were not included in our projected population, and the extent to which adult females may have been so secreted as to make their presence unknown to our various informants is itself unknown. Keeping with our overall premise, we sought venues where our informants indicated that the word was that sex services were being bought and sold. Depending upon the legal status of prostitution in a particular jurisdiction, those venues are more or less clandestine.
We interviewed 76 criminal justice and other related officials. The majority of the subjects in this group were either police or immigration officers. A small number of judges, prosecutors, customs or coast guard officials, and American officials working for the U.S. embassies in Asia were also interviewed.
Interviews with the authorities emphasized the problems of and prospects for preventing and suppressing the movement of Chinese women for the purpose of prostitution. In regard to their own jurisdiction, they were asked about
(1) the organization of sex trafficking;
(2) examples of cases in which either arrests, prosecutions, and/or convictions have occurred;
(3) problems in investigating, prosecuting, and punishing trafficking offenders;
(4) specific examples of measures being taken and their assessments of the effectiveness of these measures; and
(5) their recommendations on how to improve bilateral and multilateral strategies to combat sex trafficking and the sex industry.
Finally, we interviewed some social service providers, NGOs, and other advocacy group members who were responsible for serving and protecting trafficking victims. The number of NGOs and service providers who had actually had experience in dealing with prostitutes specifically from China was very small. We thus additionally recruited and interviewed in an informal way many key informants who, as previously mentioned, due to their work, leisure activities, or simply residency, have special knowledge and understanding of the social organization of prostitution involving Chinese women in their locales. Taxi drivers who also work as middlemen, businessmen who frequented sex venues, and longtime residents of certain places were included in this group.
The formal interviews with NGOs and service providers focused on
(1) the history, goals, and structure of their organizations,
(2) their services or functions,
(3) the problems they encountered in pursuit of their goals,
(4) their assessments of the magnitude and nature of the movement of Chinese women for commercial sex,
(5) their working relationships with local government authorities, and
(6) what their needs were.
The challenge came when we approached subjects who were working in premises that were owned and operated by someone else. For example, when we tried to interview women in the massage parlors of New Jersey, we had to deal with the fact that they were working for someone else, and we needed to get their consent as well. The same was true with the brothels in Los Angeles: not only did we need the consent of the women to talk to us, but also the consent of the man or woman who owned and managed the house. Certain sex venues were well-established and had more than a hundred women working there under the supervision of a dozen or so so-called "mommies" or "mammies" (women who were in charge of the girls). In these large sex venues, it was not feasible to seek the consent of the owner. Instead, for those particular sex venues, like the spas in Macau and Jakarta and the KTVs (karaoke TV lounges) in Bangkok, we sought the consent of a mommy or a manager first and then the consent of a subject.
The third way we found our subjects was through referrals. For example, we asked a relative living in Hong Kong to ask her hairdresser to introduce us to a mommy and we later asked the mommy to introduce some of her girls to us. In Hong Kong, we also were acquainted with a mommy who was soliciting business on the streets for her girls, and we asked her to bring her girls to us to be interviewed. In Shenzhen, we also relied on a street mommy to refer several girls to us. The same is true with all the escorts we interviewed in Taiwan and Malaysia. In both countries, we were able to meet a number of escort agency owners through referrals. Once these owners decided to help us with our project, we not only interviewed their girls, but also interviewed them and even observed up-close how they conducted their businesses.
Our interviewer was alone with a female subject, he immediately told her who he was and the purpose of his being there. He then told her the key points in our verbal informed consent statement, emphasizing that
(1) participation was completely voluntary,
(2) refusal to participate would involve no penalty or loss of benefit,
(3) even if consenting to participate, the subject could refuse to answer any question she wished to, and
(4) the subject could terminate the interview at any time.
No interviews were conducted without the subject’s full consent and understanding of the process.
If a woman said no to our request for an interview, we did not pressure her to change her mind. In that instance, we gave the woman a small amount of money and simply left. Table 1.3 shows the number of such rejections by research site, and the sex markets where those rejections occurred. Altogether, 17 women we approached refused to be interviewed, a relatively low rejection rate (about 9%). There were no refusals with respect to the other three categories of subjects (sex ring operators, law enforcers, and NGOs and other key informants) because nearly all these subjects were located through referrals, and the interviews were prearranged.
We also tried our best to protect the interviewer. WHO recommended that: "If interviewers are going to conduct an interview alone in a high-risk location, an interviewer should make certain that an outside contact person knows where she/he is going, what time she/he is conducting the interview, and what time she/he expects to complete the interview. Arrangements should be made to get in touch with the outside contact person once the interviewer is safely out of the interview location." When our interviewer was interviewing a subject, a locally hired assistant, a friend, or a relative was made aware of the time and place of the interview.
Despite these many precautions, we cannot say with complete confidence that none of our subjects gave us misleading or incomplete information. But this is true of any interviews with any subjects on any topic.
We also realize that interviewing prostitutes inside a sex venue or a public place for an hour or so has its own restrictions in trying to understand transnational sex trafficking.
But by maximizing the variety of the prostitutes and the sex ring operators we interviewed, and by utilizing other sources of data (e.g., court cases, interviews with government authorities and NGOs, analyzing secondary materials, and especially fieldwork and participant observation), we hoped and believe that we have succeeded in learning much more about the pieces of the puzzle known as the international sex trade.
We have already detailed our research approach and rationale, as well as why we rejected the notion of depending upon defined groups of trafficking victims such as other studies have done. Nevertheless, we were made starkly aware of the potential risks we were running in using that strategy very early on in the study.
A college-educated, 33-year-old prostitute from Harbin City (Heilongjiang Province, in northeastern China) working in New York City criticized our proposed approach after she was told that we were looking to interview women who were trafficked:
If you are looking for trafficked victims like this, you are never, ever going to find them. If you can find a girl through a newspaper advertisement, that means the girl is not being deceived or controlled, because the girl can tell her customers about this. Those who are tricked here are most likely to be locked up, and the brothel owner is unlikely to advertise his business. He is going to do business with only regular customers, and the girls are going to be locked up in a small hotel or an apartment.
Interestingly and importantly, we believe, she then added: "Of course, I know this happens in China, but I don’t know whether it also exists in the United States." Similarly, most of our subjects, while denying that they had been forced, deceived, or coerced into doing what they were currently doing, also indicated that they knew of no such cases involving other women, although sometimes some had witnessed or heard of this happening.
Thus far, we have been using the word "prostitutes" or "women who engage in commercial sex" to refer to our female subjects mainly to avoid using the terms "sex workers" or "prostituted women," as we fully understand the ideological construction and controversy surrounding the use of these terms.
We want to make it clear, however, that our position is that whether commercial sex is "sex work" or "violence against women" is an empirical question to be settled by facts, data, and evidence, and not by ideological posturing on either or any side of the issue.
Our study is actually about the social organization of the transnational movement of Chinese women for commercial sex, and thus we hope will have relevance for sex trafficking as well as for prostitution. Therefore, at the very outset, we would like to clarify what we mean by the terms that follow.
A prostitute is a woman who willingly engages in sexual intercourse for money. Of course, agreeing on what is "willingly" can be a problem, but we will return to this question later in the book.
For our purposes, we will use the Chinese word xiaojie interchangeably with the word "prostitute" because xiaojie was the term used by the vast majority of our female subjects in the sex business to refer to themselves.
The term xiaojie is composed of two characters: xiao which means "little," "small," or "young," and jie which means "older sister." Xiaojie can be translated as "miss," and people in Taiwan and Hong Kong often use the word xiaojie to refer to any young woman, regardless of whether the woman is a stranger, a waitress, a celebrity, and so on.
As a matter of fact, not all prostitutes in China are referred to as xiaojie, nor are all xiaojie prostitutes. Because prostitution is illegal in China, most of the women who are engaged in prostitution in China are necessarily categorized as xiaojie, jishi (technician), or falangmei (hair salon lady).
Strictly speaking, a xiaojie is someone who works in a nightclub, a KTV, or a dance hall as a hostess. She can claim that she is not a prostitute because she only entertains customers by sitting at their tables (zuotai or on stage) and does not go out with them (chutai or off stage).
Higher class prostitutes or call girls normally ply their trade at nightspots in Jalan Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, Jalan Horley and Jalan Imbi. With the influx of prostitutes from China, Thailand, Indonesia, Myanmar and the Philippines, the local girls are getting the run for their money. Of all these foreigner women, those from China (China Girls) seem to have entrepreneurial advantage - How China Dolls Make Money In Malaysia.