Research shows that Sub-Saharan Africa has become a hotspot for Chinese sex workers, according to a new study.
Basile Ndjio, a researcher from Princeton’s Institute for Advanced Study has been tracking migration trends of prostitutes from China in countries like Cameroon, Nigeria and Ghana. In a forthcoming paper for the academic journal Urban Studies, Ndjio calls Africa the “new El Dorado for the prostitution business” and claims that there is an estimated 13,500 to 18,500 Chinese sex workers providing services on the continent.
As China moves into Africa—building highways and stadiums, striking oil deals, and opening special economic zones—practitioners of the world’s oldest profession have followed, catering to both Chinese expatriates and locals. Growing African purchasing power helps explain sex migration. Deloitte estimates that Africa’s middle class has tripled in the last over the last three decades. That means more money for imported televisions, imported handbags and, yes, imported sex.
Ndjio first discovered the phenomenon when working as a casino croupier during graduate school in Cameroon. Behind the scenes, Ndjio was introduced to the world of “Shanghai beauties,” sex workers who often gathered in the back of Chinese restaurants, hotels and lounges. Colleagues and other customers used code languages asking for sex with terms like “stress relief,” “rest” or “acupuncture.”
Sex workers first came to Sub-Saharan Africa during the Cold War for migrant workers. The current phase has been spurred by the mass inpouring of inexpensive Chinese products and services into Africa, as well as Africa’s growing middle class.
Now Chinese sex workers are in direct competition with natives in high-end brothels and on street corners. Competition is so steep that it is resulting in violence as well as a change in local beauty standards.
China is infamous for forced sex work, as the US State Department listed China on the Tier 2 Watch List in its Trafficking in Persons Report for 2015. However, Ndjio’s anecdotal research has found that Chinese sex workers often arrive in African countries with the expectation of working as waitresses or secretaries.
These women generally arrive ready for new opportunities, only to be confronted with a trafficker who forces them into sex work as a reimbursement for plane tickets and visas. Ndjio has also found that other women who are rescued from prostitution rings in Cameroon often stay in the business and travel to more prosperous destinations like Nigeria or Ghana to make more money.
Read more on Ndjio’s research here.
Celebrities Who’ve Survived Domestic Violence
1. La Toya Jackson1 of 21
2. Michel'le2 of 21
3. Gabrielle Union3 of 21
4. NeNe Leak4 of 21
5. Mariah Carey5 of 21
6. Whitney Houston6 of 21
7. K. Michelle7 of 21
8. Evelyn Lozada8 of 21
9. Tina Turner9 of 21
10. Robin Givens10 of 21
11. Claudette Ortiz11 of 21
12. Halle Berry12 of 21
13. Tamar Braxton13 of 21
14. Kelly Rowland14 of 21
15. Rihanna15 of 21
16. Lisa Wu16 of 21
17. Jaslene Gonzalez17 of 21
18. Keke Wyatt18 of 21
19. Christina Aguilera19 of 21
20. Erica Mena20 of 21
21. Cicely Tyson21 of 21
Sex Workers Flock To Sub-Saharan Africa Following Crackdowns On Chinese Prostitution was originally published on hellobeautiful.com