Sex Workers Tested for Sexually Transmitted Diseases at Golden Triangle SEZ

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Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos

Over thirty sex workers employed in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone have tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases.

According to a notice issued by the Public Security Office of the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone (SEZ) in Ton Pheung District, Bokeo Province, some 31 women have reportedly tested positive for sexually transmitted diseases.

Authorities began monitoring massage parlors and other entertainment venues across the SEZ on Tuesday.

A notice issued by the Public Security Office of the Golden Triangle SEZ

They found 431 women employed as sex workers in the SEZ, with 31 infected with sexually transmitted diseases.

Of those, 28 of the women are Lao nationals, two are Vietnamese and one is a Russian citizen.

According to the notice, the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone sees women of many different nationalities working in the service industry, including 224 Lao nationals, 108 Chinese, 79 Burmese, and others from Thailand, Vietnam, and Russia.

Authorities estimate around 430 women are actively involved in the service industry, and possibly engaging in prostitution inside the SEZ.

Karaoke bar at Boten Special Economic Zone

Some of the women are private residents, hotel employees, or massage parlor attendants who engage in sex work as a secondary occupation at entertainment venues.

Most of the sex workers in Laos are from poor families, with members of the country’s ethnic minorities making up a large number.

Prostitution is illegal under Lao law and can be subject to severe prosecution, while Laos itself remains both a destination and a transit country for sex trafficking.

The US Treasury officially placed the Kings Romans Casino based in the Golden Triangle Special Economic Zone in Laos on its organized crime sanctions blacklist in 2018.

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