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‘Tour companion’ sites introduce girls to clients looking for sex

(Global Times)    16:33, December 01, 2015
‘Tour companion’ sites introduce girls to clients looking for sex
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Websites and agents that offer travel companions to keep tourists company and show them around new places have emerged in China in recent years, which seem to simply be an extension of the services tour guides offer. However, more is on offer than just local knowledge.

An investigation conducted by China Central Television (CCTV) journalists found that many "travel companions" are selling sex to their clients.

Lewdness and lies

Searching online for a travel companion leads one to a number of websites dedicated to providing female companions, with photos and seductive descriptions of girls popping out once one enters a site.

The services usually cost from a few thousand yuan to 10,000 yuan ($1,564) per day. A CCTV journalist contacted a girl through a phone number listed on such a site who explained that "the expensive fee is both for travelling together at day time and sleeping together at night."

Many girls contacted by the journalist claimed that they provide sex in addition to tour services, and the prices on the website only cover having sex once. The cost of an overnight service is higher.

The so-called "travel companion's" extra services usually take place in hotels, but a few girls also provide sex venues.

Many girls claim in their online bios that they are college students, white-collar workers or models.

A girl who claimed to be a college student in Beijing said that she charges 3,000 yuan for her services. When the journalist met her at her rented apartment near the city's North Third Ring Road, she looked different from the online photos she posted.

She said that she did sex work to pay for her tuition, but she refused to show the journalist her student ID.

A girl who said she was a white-collar worker in Sichuan Province did not post real photos of herself either.

Some "travel companions" try to proactively promote themselves online. They post photos of themselves in revealing outfits and provocative poses with suggestive descriptions on their Weibo accounts to attract as many followers as possible. Some accounts were shut down due to their pornographic content.

These girls spend money to advertise themselves online in order to charge clients more and their bios are fabricated, a Shanghai police officer surnamed Sun told CCTV.

Sun said that some sex workers spend a fortune on plastic surgery in South Korea, and some workers earn up to 30,000 yuan in cash in one day.

Sex trade platforms

To find yourself a "travel companion," you have to get access to the websites first. The information of thousands of girls across China is listed on such sites, but clients have to pay an annual membership fee ranging from several hundred to several thousand yuan to select girls and get their phone number.

Each time clients want to meet a new girl they also have to pay another 1,000 yuan to the site as an introduction fee.

Driven by profit, many girls have taken taking advantage of the convenience of online platforms to get into sex work.

A "travel companion" who said she was 16 called her work "making friends." She planed to rent her own apartment using the money she earned.

The journalist met the girl outside a compound in Beijing's Haidian district, and asked her what "making friends" means to her.

"It's just prostitution," the girl said casually. She didn't know whether her work was legal or not.

Some "travel companions" do not provide sex but are agents that introduce other girls to sex work.

Such agents post sexy photos of girls online with a description of their height and other measurements, and charge 5,000 yuan to 10,000 yuan for sex.

The prostitution network formed by the "travel companion" websites and social media covers many cities in China, which has encouraged the spread of the sex trade.

Meng Wei, a research fellow with Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told CCTV that the online sex trade has spread at an astonishing speed and has had a major impact on society, especially among young people who are frequent users of the Internet.

Experts believe that the Internet sex trade must be dealt with as soon as possible. Besides public security departments, the operators of the WeChat and QQ, instant messaging apps, should also shoulder the responsibility of cracking down on these kinds of activities. 


(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Zhang Yuan,Bianji)

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