We go beyond the stigmas to hear some of the stories behind the people in the Hong Kong (and Macau) sex industry. With TOHK staff. Photography by Studio TM
The stripper Daniel
My job is fun. There’s no doubt about it. Taking your clothes off in front of a group of whooping, cheering, clapping women is
I’m originally from Italy but I’ve been here for six years. I came here with friends after working as a stripper in Europe. I’m in my 20s, I work out a lot and I’ve got just the right body and entertaining manner to work as one of Hong Kong’s top male strippers.
I got into the business here after meeting with Tyson, of Tysonhk.com [call 9423 4960 for details], who organises male and female strippers and parties in Hong Kong. He’s a stripper himself, with years of experience, so he taught me and the team most of the routines and how to step up to the top level, although I have developed my own style which I adapt depending on the party. If the girls are loud then I go wild. If they’re quieter then I’m gentle. It’s fun, whichever way.
Some girls ask why I don’t get aroused and whether I’m gay or not. I’m not gay. Being aroused while entertaining the girls just doesn’t work…
Parties are normally for Westerners or for Chinese girls who have been educated overseas, or, of course, a mix of both. However it seems there are various markets in Hong Kong, where girls from anywhere like a good, fun party with a male stripper!
There was a time when locals wouldn’t want to have a stripper for a hen party but that’s changed quickly. I can dress as a sailor or a pilot and do a strip dance – particularly, of course, focusing on the bride-to-be or birthday girl but there are a lot of games for the other girls too.
We do a lot of our parties at Varga Lounge in Staunton Street, Central. Upstairs, in the private room, the ladies love it due to the feminine décor and sound system. But I can perform anywhere in Hong Kong. This job is easy for me because I like what I do. I love to entertain and I love hearing the girls scream when I walk into the room. There’s no better way to make money.
The female prostitute Sasa
Working this job, it can be very cold, very heartless and very lonely. I’m a ‘massage girl’ in a parlour in Mong Kok. I give massages but I also do a lot more, obviously. It’s a hard job but at least it allows me to make enough money so I can survive.
I moved to Hong Kong a little over two years ago from Guangzhou, where I lived for most of my life. I moved here because I separated from my second husband and I also had to leave my daughters, aged eight and 12 years old, behind. I owned a clothing shop in Mong Kok and business was very good for a while. Unfortunately things changed and I became broke, which left me with nothing. No business, no family and no money.
So I decided to turn to this. My feelings are divided on what I do. Sometimes I feel very uncomfortable with the way people – especially my clients – look down on me and treat me. But, at other times, it’s easy money. It means I can eat. Working in a place like this, for a middle-aged woman like me, it means I don’t get paid as much as the younger, prettier girls – but it is quick cash.
Sometimes I sleep with up to eight men per shift. Our shifts are long – most of the time it’s 10 hours – but when I want to make more money, I actually work for more than 12 hours.
I very seldom work as a massage girl outside the parlour because, inside, it’s like an office. They take care of you and protect you. Outside, I could get abused or even murdered. I’m hoping to do this for maybe two more years and then go back to my daughters.
The pole dancer Tia
I must be a quick learner. I have only been in Asia for three weeks and I have never done pole dancing before – but already I am really quite good at it. I’m from Prague, in the Czech Republic, and I’m 25 years old. I didn’t expect to be a pole dancer in my life but now I love it.
I’m also a private dancer. When I’m not on the stage, I am giving a guy a private dance. It’s just as much fun as pole dancing. I work at Divino Macau now but I was a student in Prague. I just thought, earlier this year – along with a friend who is also now a pole dancer at Divino – I wanted to see another country.
We looked at places around the world but we decided on Macau because it is such a lively place. As soon as I got here I got a job at the club and was taught pole dancing. And I picked it up really quickly, so that’s now what I do! And it’s a fantastic way to enjoy yourself.
It takes a lot of strength to be a good pole dancer. It’s not easy. It hurts. I have bruises up my body. But it’s hot and sexy – I get a real thrill out of doing it. I never take all my clothes off for it. That happens when I give a private dance. If a customer likes what he sees on stage he will ask me for a private show. And the clients are good at Divino – there’s no pushing or touching. If they try that I just put their hand down. Their staff are watching anyway.
I really like talking with the Westerners. With the Chinese guys it’s a lot harder because we don’t understand each other – but it’s always good fun. Yes, some guys don’t like you and don’t want a dance with you – but you just swallow your pride and get on with it when that happens.
I will do this as long as I want. And then I will move on. You can’t stay in one place forever. But while I’m here in Asia, I will enjoy every moment of this experience.
The bachelor party organiser Stephen Anderson
Macau obviously has a very vibrant sex industry scene. And it’s a little different to the scene in Hong Kong. My business, Eventour Macau [see bachelorpartyinmacau.com or call (853) 6685 7621], caters to accommodate stag parties, gentlemen’s dinners and, well, any event where a group of guys want to hire some beautiful girls. Or, in fact, if girls want to hire guys – we have some excellent Brazilian male dancers. We cater for all occasions – mostly at venues in Macau but in Hong Kong too. All scales of entertainment are available. It just depends on the size and theme of the party. It’s all about fun, whatever your taste may be.
But it can get wild, a bit raunchy – however, what happens in Macau stays in Macau. I can’t really get into the details as Shun Tak rule applies but you can imagine what sort of wild parties we’ve had. Some people get so drunk, the next day they can’t remember what they were supposed to forget. It really is very much a full-on experience.
Macau was meant to be like Monte Carlo and Prague. But, let’s face it, it’s become Vegas. So we give our customers what they want. Our girls are entertainers and they are safe and protected by law. We actually take them from agencies, however we call them our staff – and they are brilliant. As Macau is an integrated resort city, they are entertainers from not only Asia but also Europe and South America.
The business has close working relationships with many of the clubs in Macau so we have excellent bases for our parties – but we do hold them anywhere. This is a great part of the world for the adult entertainment industry and I expect to see more businesses like this in Hong Kong and Macau as more people look for this sort of fun. And if you’re holding a bachelor party but you’re not sure if it will be the right idea? Just give it a try. Who doesn’t want to be surrounded by beautiful women when you’re out enjoying one of the biggest nights of your life?
The male prostitute Jeffrey
To put it bluntly, I’m not satisfied watching other people enjoy life – eating and drinking well, while I’m stuck with my plate of chow fun. Before becoming a ‘masseuse’ – as we call it – I was a waiter making RMB800 a month in the Mainland. How is someone supposed to live off that? I considered going to college but, at most, a fresh college graduate makes RMB2,000 a month.
But, with what I do now, in a good month, I can make anywhere between RMB20,000 and RMB30,000 (in HK$, of course). You do the maths. Most of us get into the business simply for the money. I don’t have much of an education, my parents are getting older and they owe the government money. Within two years I was able to settle their debts and my own. I estimate that China has hundreds of thousands of prostitutes. Why? Because our living situation is unbearable and we seek a better life. In a lot of ways I think that the government actually forces us into this occupation.
I started when I was 25 years old and now it’s my second year in the business. I take on male clients mostly and I charge a minimum of $800 when I’m in Hong Kong. In fact, $800 will get you the full package. If the client wants to do more – like have me stay overnight or take ice (meth) with him, then I’ll charge more. Ice seems to be popular in Hong Kong. Men in Hong Kong rarely stay overnight though. They cum then they go – it’s very straightforward and it only takes half an hour to resolve their problem.
On average my clients are in their 30s and 40s, but these days I’ve even been getting college students as young as 19. There are clients I’ll reject, like men that have physically visible diseases like skin boils, men that are into S&M and men that refuse to use condoms. I want money but I’m not willing to die for it.