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Many of the girls were “forced to perform sexual favours they didn’t want to, were raped or more,” she was quoted as saying.
Despite its popularity (or because of it), part-time sex work like compensated dating is thought to be riddled with exploitation.
Lee, a spokesperson for the sex workers’ rights organisation Zi Teng, says that lingering stigma against the industry has influenced the laws that govern it and cut off workers’ rights.
“If there is no more stigmatisation or discrimination, we believe the government may be more willing to do something for sex workers,” she says.
Meanwhile, Sandy – who has been doing compensated dating since August last year – is both cheery and completely unabashed about it.
A solid chunk of her income comes from this side job – in the past nine months, she has made at least HK,000 from compensated dating.
Dispelling the myths While police and activist groups clash over the perceived risks of compensated dating, the legal quagmire created by these differences in opinion has been tough on the sex workers themselves.
Current legislation severely restricts sex workers, who (amongst other things) are not allowed to promote their services in public spaces, work in groups, or lease a workspace.
There is no shortage of men willing to pay for companionship and sex, and business is booming – one recently-busted ring had over 100,000 members.
The industry is supported by internet forums and apps like We Chat and Instagram, where prices are negotiated.
Sandy was merely curious when she wrote her first post on the online dating forum.