Prostitution aplenty

A LEGITIMATE Port Vila massage business owner says she receives many regular requests for ‘extra’ services from tourists and Chinese workers around the capital.

“It is getting worse and worse and I want people to know that I run a proper legal massage business that does nothing more than massages from properly trained masseuses,” she said.

“I am Filipino and I was properly trained there in a form of acu-massage, which is like acupuncture without needles, and we are very professional in what we do and it has nothing to do with sex.”

Hair and Body Shop owner Merly Yocogan bravely came forward after The independent last week revealed the existence of a brothel known as the‘White House’ in Tanna.

The Independent faced a barrage of criticism for the article, but some people in Tanna reported seeing more than one child of mixed blood since the brothel, which is located near the headquarters of CCECC, was opened.

Ms Yocogan and other straight massage business owners in Port Vila told The Independent they had no doubt such a business existed in Tanna and would be surprised if it was limited to one such operation.

“It is is getting worse here in Port Vila, with prostitution growing all the time and I know of a number of businesses where men can get the ‘extra services’ they want,” she said.

She said a basic service of masturbation costs around VT10,000 and full sex costs VT40,000.

“I get people asking for it all the time, mainly by phone,’’ she said this week.

“Mostly it is tourists or taxi drivers with cruise ship passengers on board looking to pay for sex.

“They can be pretty insistent and it is very frustrating when you are running a proper business and we just tell them we do not do those sort of things.

“Many of them are Chinese workers who are on construction sites around Port Vila.

“One night I had seven Chinese workers come to the door after we had closed and they said their wives were a long way away and they just wanted sex.

“I just sent them away. Another time, a Chinese worker stood at the door and demonstrated to my staff in gestures what he wanted. It was disgusting and we sent him away too.’’

She said the illegal business had blossomed as cruise ship arrivals had increased.

“Between them and the Chinese construction workers it has become a big business in Vila and I am sure it is happening on other islands as well where there is a demand, and there will always be a demand,’’ she said.

“We have a great group of regular customers from around town, including many members of my Adventist church, and we pride ourselves on offering the most professional and therapeutic massage service you can receive.

“But the requests for ‘extra services’ or ‘extra massages’ just keep coming and we keep turning them away.

“I know of four of five massage businesses in Vila that provide what these men want and I’m sure there are quite a few more.’’

Another owner who did not want to be named because of a fear of reprisals said some of these brothels fronting as massage businesses were owned by a Fijian Asian group.

“I have been told they are the biggest player in the massage parlour business in Fiji and have moved in here are well,’’ she said.

“If you are looking for sex action in Vila, you don’t have to go far to find it and it is not really hidden away.”

A senior police of officer said there were connections between Fiji and the massage business in Fiji and Port Vila, but refused to elaborate.

“It would cost me my job if I said any more about this but it is a real on-going, lucrative business,” he said.

Another massage business operator, Kesorn who operates Kesorn’s Spa and Thai Massage, said that requests for sex at their business were rare.

“We get a few and they are usually from Asian men and some tourists, but our business is mainly locals and expats, so we don’t have that problem,’’ she said.

“My girls are trained not to even accept invitations to go out to dinner with our clients.’’

The Independent spent more than a week trying to get comments from CCECC.

We finally received a five paragraph unsigned statement mid-week, demanding an apology.

In part of its unsigned statement it said: ‘China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC), the employer of Chinese nationals constructing the Tanna road project, has reacted to allegations that their workers are clients of an alleged brothel on Tanna.”

The ‘alleged brothel’ story was rebutted by the CCECC after the article alleged that the ‘so-called brothel’ was largely catering to Chinese clients.

CCECC said it felt obliged to respond to defend its good name and reputation because it is the only Chinese company operating on Tanna.

“According to our own investigations, there is no brothel operating on Tanna,” said the statement from the company.

“Even local chiefs and the general population vehemently deny the existence of such an establishment and say that its existence would go against Tanna’s cultural and religious beliefs.

“It would not be tolerated by Tanna society and the first disgruntled husband would most probably put an end to its existence.

“CCECC also wishes to set the record straight by stating that CCECC workers are governed by strict rules which do not allow them to participate in extra-curricular and especially, culturally-sensitive activities, which may cause disruption,” it said.

The Independent has been unsuccessful for two weeks in seeking to speak to someone from CCECC in person.

Editor Tony Wilson said it is naive beyond belief that a group of men thousands of kilometres from their home base for months would not seek some sexual relief.

“Unless they are running a prison type environment, I doubt that they can control or know what their staff are doing 24 hours a day,” he said.

“We are concerned simply about the very serious health and social issues involved here and I challenge the Daily Post’s Dan McGarry to prove me wrong.

”Further to that, I challenge him to join me in this important issue that the public must be made aware of instead of making spurious, uninformed remarks for a caffeine hit of publicity.’’


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