Why Kuala Lumpur could be on its way to becoming the sex capital of Asia

Malaysia, July 28, 2015 – Asian Correspondent

When people think of the sex industry, Thailand and the Philippines will most likely come up in the minds of many. However, one of the ironic things about Malaysia, with its conservative Islamic leaning, is that the flesh trade is thriving, as is the casual sex scene.

Historically, prostitution on the Malay Peninsula had served loggers, tin miners and seamen, over the last 200 years. Prostitution was limited to certain areas in Georgetown, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kauntan, and in KL itself. However, over the last few years, these areas have expanded with the mushrooming of massage parlors all over Malaysia, even in areas where the Islamic party PAS is part of government.

Although prostitution is illegal in Malaysia, it is there for all to see today on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, with little apparent enforcement. However, even with the relatively few police and immigration operations that are going on, huge numbers of prostitutes are being rounded up. Last year, over 6,000 Chinese, Thai, and Vietnamese prostitutes were rounded up in a three month period alone. According to the Havoscope Global Black Market Information website, the size of the Malaysian prostitution industry is calculated at US$963.8 million, or RM3.68 billion.

The flesh trade

Kuala Lumpur has a number of red light districts. Bukit Bintang is probably the most upmarket where it is mingled in with some of the most exclusive shopping centres in town. Massage parlors, brothels, and street walkers can all be found around this area.

The sex industry was once the domain of local prostitutes, but this has almost totally changed over the last decade. Foreign prostitutes from China, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia have swamped the locals, and now predominate. In addition, there are many prostitutes from African countries who work outside many of the bars and nightspots around KL. These mostly foreign prostitutes, operating from local guest houses, will congregate outside nightclubs in Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, and Jalan Imbi.