NEWS:Sex Back On The Menu In Sultry Former Saigon

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Subject: NEWS:Sex Back On The Menu In Sultry Former Saigon
From: Jyothi Kanics (jkanics@igc.org)
Date: Mon Apr 26 1999 - 12:32:44 EDT


Friday April 23 10:13 AM ET

Sex Back On The Menu In Sultry Former Saigon

HANOI (Reuters) - Sex-related services are on the menu at over 75 percent
of restaurants in
Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City, an official daily reported Friday.

Saigon Giai Phong said that of the 401 officially registered restaurants in
the city formerly called
Saigon, 301 were a front for ``bia om'' (cuddle beer). Bia om can include
everything from
hand-holding to sexual intercourse.

``The Trade Services Office has withdrawn 96 (restaurant) licenses and
refused to grant permission
to 17 other restaurants...which showed indications of being involving in
unhealthy business,'' the
paper said.

Prostitution has boomed in communist-ruled Vietnam as the country has
introduced reforms to allow
the creation of a market-style economy.

The problem is particularly noticeable in Ho Chi Minh City, although it is
common throughout the
country.

In the southern city, sex is available in many bars, restaurants, massage
parlors, hotels, karaoke
spots, on pavements or from passing women and transsexuals cruising the
streets on low-powered
motorcycles.

The authorities have vowed to clamp down on prostitution and other social
evils and periodically
stage well-publicized raids.


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