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Vietnam Should Establish Red-Light Districts in Special Economic Zones: Lawmaker

A member of Vietnam's National Assembly has suggested that the country should consider legalizing prostitution in special economic zones.

VnExpress reports that Phung Quoc Hien, the assembly's vice chairman, said Monday that Vietnam should look into creating regulated prostitution in such zones. Casinos have already been approved in these areas.

The government is currently debating special incentives to create three special economic zones: Van Don in Quang Ninh province, Van Phong in Khanh Hoa province and another on Phu Quoc Island.

Officials hope these areas will attract investment from international corporations and become economic and tourism hubs. The long-standing ban on local gambling will not be in place in these zones, but legalized prostitution had not been mentioned until now.

Regarding this issue, the news source shares that Hien shared in a National Assembly meeting on Monday: "Life has such realistic demands. We've got to go with the flow and work out an appropriate mechanism."

Prostitution is legal in roughly 70 countries, including Singapore, allowing these nations to regulate the sex industry and mitigate the spread of STDs. In Vietnam, however, the topic is still largely taboo.

Unsurprisingly, Hien's suggestion has received a mixed reaction. Tran Chi Dung, director of the Kien Giang province department of tourism, which covers Phu Quoc, shared: "This is a sensitive matter."

Meanwhile Khuat Thi Hao Oanh, founder of the Center for Supporting Community Development Initiatives, a group which advocates marginalized people, told VnExpress: "Vietnam is still short of the highest political will to legalize prostitution."

She went on: "But to be fair, Vietnam's relevant policies on prostitution have made some significant headway. There are reasons and indicators to hope for an even better change in the future."

At the moment it is unclear whether this proposition will advance into new regulations.

[Photo via Thai Blog News]

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