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August 08, 2014


Could they be sex tourists?

I thouhgt those went primarily to Thailand....

Thailand is so last millennium, WJ! It's been gradually pricing itself out of the really-cheap-sex market for decades, to be replaced by Cambodia and Vietnam, poorer countries with more desperate bodies for sale. (Myanmar might also fit in - I haven't been there for a decade; it "contributes" indirectly by its refugees in Thailand, who have been among the most exploited sex workers there, without even the minimal rights/leverage of Thai women.)

Commercial sex is often treated as a matter of morality and "culture," but if one looks at it - for these purposes - as a series of transactions in (imperfect) international markets, a lot of things make sense that didn't quite fit before. In the late 20th century (and possibly continuing on), there were Japanese sex tourists in the Philippines, while Filipina "entertainers" worked in the bars and brothels of Japan. Many Japanese and outsiders interpreted this, at least in part, as reflecting different attitudes toward sex in the two countries, with Philippine society seen as more permissive, less "moral" than Japanese.

Yet less than a century earlier (late 19th/early 20th century) the Philippines, then relatively more prosperous, was actually importing sex workers from Japan, rather than exporting them! Either culture is much less deeply embedded than we tend to assume, or the dominant factor here is economics, not culture at all.

(FWIW, early Japanese industrialization was funded in part by remittances from expatriate sex workers in the rest of Asia [China, Singapore, etc.], who had been in many cases encouraged in these "patriotic" activities by government officials - and then were repudiated and abandoned by Japan once it became wealthy enough to aspire to "respectability." A number of books have been written about these women, including Jim Warren, Ah Ku and Karayuki-san )

Back to the OP, I have no knowledge of the Danang-Macau traffic, but your speculation strikes me as quite plausible - rich Vietnamese get to gamble in Macau, rich Chinese get access to cheap and exotic Vietnamese sex. Win-win, for those organizing and taking the flights. Maybe not so much for some of the others involved.

hmmm, while sex tourism is a depressing possibility, these guys apparently had no luggage whatsoever, just a small carry-on (it was the Macau to Danang leg), which seems a bit strange to me. It sounded to me like the courier services (that seem to have largely disappeared, I think) where you would agree to fly to some place with no luggage so the company could use your luggage allowance to send whatever they needed (usually documents that had to arrive quickly).

Some businesspeople have more than one residence if they travel back and forth frequently. A lot of industry outsourcing is happening in Vietnam.

I wouldn't jump to a conclusion about sex tourism. I know that it's common, but to assume that everyone on a particular plane is traveling for that purpose seems kind of creepy.

"Travelling with the Indian sex tourist to Tashkent in search of ‘full enjoyment.’"

Depressing all the way around.

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