Crackdown on illicit ‘rest houses’ proves tough

Officials say Ho Chi Minh City’s numerous “rest houses” and budget hotels are havens for illegal activity, namely prostitution.

A row of rest houses along Tran Thien Chanh Street, District 10, HCM City (Photo: SGGP)

While poor out-of-town workers or those coming to the city for medical treatment also use the accommodations, the low-cost hotels are notorious for being used by sex workers. 

According to State regulations, rest houses and hotels must ask for identification from their guests and keep it to show authorities upon request. But officials say many businesses flout the law.

Captain Le Huu Phuong from the District 8 Police said authorities struggle to deal with the “social evils” taking place in rest houses due to the non-compliance of the owners.

Whenever the police come to investigate, guards can simply press a button to alert staff. In addition, rest house owners will often stall authorities so guests have time to cover up their activities.

Police say prostitutes regularly change the hotels they use to avoid being caught.

Nguyen Van Dung, deputy chairman of District 10’s Ward 2 People’s Committee said local authorities are only responsible for the administration of such houses and do not have the authority to suspend their licenses.

By staff writers – Translated by Thu Thuy

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