Online Prostitution is Booming in Asia

By Thibaud (Jakarta100bars)
Because of the Internet, prostitution in Asia has been transformed significantly over the past 10 years.

Slowly, it has moved out from the street, the bars, and the massage parlors, and instead, it has invaded online forums, escort websites, chatting apps and social medias.

The main reason for this evolution is that it benefits the client. He no longer has to visit dodgy, sometimes illegal venues in sketchy neighborhoods. He can choose a girl directly from her photos, chat with her, make a deal, and then invite her to sneak discreetly inside his house or hotel. After finishing, he can even rate the girl and review his experience on online forums.

Some prostitutes have taken advantage of it as well. The most desirable (educated, beautiful and fun) are now officially called "escorts" or "sugar babies". On websites like SeekingArrangement.com, they select their customers carefully, favoring "quality" (= money) over quantity. A few partners per month can be enough for some to maintain a luxurious lifestyle.

For the rest of prostitutes, things haven't changed much as online prostitution does not remove their need for middlemen. There are still plenty of individuals making money from the sex work of others, but their role has evolved. While there are still pimps who act like bodyguards, drivers, debt-collectors, recruiters or organizers, others have become digital entrepreneurs or marketing managers. They create websites, advertise on online groups, respond to emails and messages, and post pics/videos. 

One thing to remember is that sex work is still illegal in a majority of Asian countries except for Singapore, Hong-Kong, and Macau. Everywhere else, prostitution operates freely only because of corruption and collusion, hence the need for powerful mafias and sex traffickers who can bend the law as they wish.

How Online Prostitution Works in Asia
Few people realize how massive online prostitution has become in Asia. For information purposes only, I will give you a few example of the many forms it takes.

Note: No need to ask me for my feedback about any of those sites or apps as I have never used them personally.

1) Messenger Apps: WeChat
The "People Nearby" feature in WeChat
WeChat, the Chinese equivalent of WhatsApp, has a discreet feature which is popular among sex tourists. Simply called "People Nearby", it allows you to search for other WeChat users around you (male or female) and chat with them. 

Among normal profiles, you will notice dozens of more suggestive ones with fake pics and names such as "Lotus Massage" or "Sabadee ++". The majority of those are actually owned by digital pimps running small prostitution rings.

WeChat is also the favorite app for ladyboy to advertise escort services, particularly in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines.

2) Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Telegram
What would surprise you is that online prostitution exists and thrives even on mainstream social media like Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

On Facebook, you can find thousands of groups or individual pages which clearly advertise prostitution. All you need to do is type keywords like "escorts" or "massage" for a particular city. Here are a few I found after 5 seconds of research:

It is strange that Facebook will remove pics of a woman breastfeeding her child, but on the other hand, it lets pimps and prostitutes advertise their sexual services.

On Twitter and Instagram, it's all about finding the dedicated hashtags. For an outsider, it is not always very easy to know them because, understandably, they are secret.

In Indonesia, for instance, people use "Bispak" (short for "Bisa Pakai") + the name of a city. This means that Bispak Jakarta is the hashtag of prostitutes who operate in Jakarta.

Twitter and Instagram are more convenient for them because, unlike on Facebook, they can keep their identity secret with a pseudonym.

Finally, Telegram has been gaining ground lately, especially in Asian countries where governments are trying to crack down on online prostitution. This app, a mix between Twitter and Facebook, allows you to create private groups where your identity is 100% protected.

3) Dating Sites and Apps
I've complained before that too many dating apps and sites in Asia are polluted by the presence of prostitutes.

In some cities like Bangkok or Kuala Lumpur, around 20% of the profiles are not those of genuine girls looking for a date. The same thing happens in tourist spots like Bali or Phuket. In Pattaya, it is at least 90% of working girls.

In general, Badoo is the dating site with the most prostitutes, followed by Tinder. AsianDating, on the contrary, has much less (probably because it isn't location-based).

4) Classified Websites: Craiglist
Personal ads on Craiglist Indonesia
This American website, one of the most visited in the world, has an infamous "personals" section where freelance prostitutes can post their pictures and detail their services/prices. It exists in every country: Singapore, Malaysia (with sometimes more than 100 ads per day), Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, etc.

Cracker.com, Backpage.com or Locanto.com are even more straightforward as they have a section called "escorts". It is also present everywhere (for instance here for Bangkok or Singapore).

5) Escort Websites
There are specialized escort websites in every Asian country (even where it's illegal). I don't want to mention any here but you can find them easily on Google.

On these sites, many girls are part of "model agencies" that take a cut from their fee in exchange for marketing services, protection, accommodation, and transportation. The sexual services provided are clearly explained up to the tiniest details (for an example, you can check the Singapore version of EZ141). Website visitors can also read reviews about a specific girl, written by her previous customers, just like they would for a restaurant or a hotel on TripAdvisor.

On escort sites, prices tend to be much higher than elsewhere. For girls who look like models (at least from the photos), it can reach up to 500$ per hour of companionship.

6) Sugar Daddy and Sugar Baby Websites
The two most famous websites in this niche are SeekingArrangement and SugarDaddie.com. On them, young girls (Sugar Babies) are looking for long-term "boyfriends" (Sugar Daddies) who will give them money, buy them gifts, invite them on holidays, or finance their studies.

These arrangements can be pricey and they are usually made by rather wealthy men. On the positive side, the girls can offer a more genuine girlfriend experience and they are more educated than the average escort.

7) Online Forums
Last, but not least, forums are another way to advertise and sell sex online. The members of a community will discuss various topics, ranging from the quality of an escort website to the merits of a specific working girl they've slept with. Sex141 (based in Hong Kong), Dpf2u (based in Malaysia), Kaskus (based in Indonesia) and SammyBoyForum (based in Singapore) are among the largest in Asia. 

2 comments to '' Online Prostitution is Booming in Asia "

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  1. Yes, digital sex tourism is the way now. I don't spend time in bars and clubs anymore... it's just a waste of time. Now I come to Jakarta, just book a room and start fucking online. Nightlclubs and bars are mostly for the young sexpat crowd who still have huge social/recognition needs, who still have things to prove to themselves, etc. Once you pass 30 yo you just don't bother about that "partying" shit.

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    1. I'm only 21 and I can't even stand it. Everything with clubs are just obnoxious, too loud and too crowded.

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