Sex, Toys and Education: #winning

Sex Workers in China are arrested, and then put into ‘labour camps’, only to be further exploited. Unfree labour is illegal. And here is an exceptional example of illegal acts being punished by further illegal acts: a gendered bias in unfree labour. In jail. (Article from the New York Times)

There are a few posts on this blog that cover similar issues, yet following my “Who Run the World?” post, I see it as important to clarify and further stress the unfairness and illegality related to gendered bias in International Divisions of Labour.




These arrested sex workers are put into camps that “hold women for up to two years” make them slave away in workshops “seven days a week for no pay, producing toys, disposable chopsticks and dog diapers, some of which the women say are packaged for export.” So while the government claims that these women in jail are being educated and are learning what a ‘proper job’ is, these helpless women are actually being forced, beyond their will, to produce exportable goods. And here we were, worrying about multinational companies going into the less developed countries to practise unfree labour. #losers

A woman, who went by the street name “Little Orchid”  says she had to spend several days at one of these camps, staying up to 11 p.m. making stuffed animals. She, of course, did not make any income out of it. The reason being that any supposed earning she made went right back into the centre as she had to buy essential resources such as bedding, sanitary towels or even food. And when asked about the education provided, it soon became apparent that it only went as far as reciting the regulations that criminalized prostitution.

The article further adds that these female inmates were harassed and abused in jail, with the unjustifiable assumption that ‘that’s what they do anyway.’ 


There have been records of excessive use of force by the police: 

Several men ganged up on beating me. Some hit my head, some my
body, and some pulled my hair. One yelled, “Fuck you, you shameless
thing!” They beat me for at least ten minutes.
– Hong, April 20, 2013   
The ill treatment of prisoners, the use of unfree labour and the high representation of gender discrimination, all of which are conducted by the very government of what is considered a developed country today, makes me worried. Very, very worried. 

A comment posted on this article that was particularly striking to me:
Imprisoned and forced to work long hours, seven days a week unpaid and charging prostitutes for the ‘privilege’? It seems to me that the government is the biggest pimp of them all.

Neverland 2 January 2014


And yet, still, in the eyes of the government of China:

  • Imprisoned prostitutes for illegal activity?  #winning
  • Provided them with a ‘job’ in prison? #winning
  • At the same time, ‘educated’ them too?  #winning

Don’t you see? The only loser here is anybody who thinks that these sex workers are being treated unfairly and are being exploited for their unfree labour. #definitelyme #andprobablyyoutoo



Veera Lamichhane



One thought on “Sex, Toys and Education: #winning

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