Prostitutes In The HDB Heartlands
This is part 2 of a four-part series of Singaporean men dallying with prostitutes
*Names have been changed to protect identities
Previously, Daniel* explained to us how prostitution in Singapore has moved online because it’s safer and more convenient to “do business” while hiding behind a mobile screen.
As a result, he no longer prowls Geylang for a streetwalker to bed as he can “order online” and “do his business” in HDB apartments.
When asked why prostitutes are moving to the heartlands, he sticks four fingers out as a way of explanation. “Police raid, competition, rental price, supply and demand.”
Police raids disrupt business
Though prostitution is not encouraged in Singapore, it is legalised so authorities can better regulate it. If made illegal, it’s likely prostitution would become an even more hushed up affair, making it difficult to track and curb the vice.
But when 2015 saw a 40% increase in commercial crimes such as prostitution or sex-related internet scams, police raids increased. Businesses in brothels were disrupted, leaving a sour taste in customers’ mouths.
To lessen the risk of deportation, prostitutes have now shifted to less visible areas, operating out of condominiums in Geylang or the HDB heartlands.
By decentralising prostitution, it becomes more difficult for law enforcement personnel to monitor, contain and raid brothels. Moving to the heartlands is not only quieter but also safer for girls to carry out ‘dirty business’.
Geylang has become too competitive
Another reason why girls are moving out of Geylang is that Singapore’s infamous red-light district has become too competitive.
Women who ply their trade are often from neighbouring China, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand, while on tourist visas.
They are either freelancers or are ‘represented’ by different ‘agencies’, depending on the ‘territory’ they’re in. Because they can only stay for no more than three months, many women want to earn as much as possible before they return.
To edge out other girls, Daniel explains how prostitutes offer cut-throat rates. “For women from China, they charge S$70 per session. For Singapore girls, they charge S$150 for a carpark blowjob and S$300 for sex. Which one more worth it?”
With the constant rotation of girls and competitive prices, the supply often outweighs the demand. As a result, most girls only see each customer once, and streetwalkers have to move out of Geylang to make a profit.
HDB cheaper to rent and cut costs
To save cost on rent, most girls prefer HDB apartments despite the added security in condominiums.
On an average workday, a girl usually services four customers a night. Her earnings are dependent on her nationality, attractiveness, and services offered.
Rates range from S$70 for “1 shot 1 time (you’re only allowed to ejaculate once)” sex and massage services to S$180 per hour for “silk stockings seduction”.
Rental rates for condominiums in the West start at S$110 a day. In Central and East Singapore, costs increase to S$140 to S$200 per day.
This means to cover rental costs, a prostitute has to sleep one or two customers for “free”.
Comparatively, rental for a HDB flat averages S$80 per day. This allows them to save on rent, and cut costs by removing the need for pimps to source for a ‘work’ location.
But the biggest advantage of moving to the HDB heartlands is moving right to the doorstep of their clients.
Moving to where the customers are
The bulk of a prostitute’s clientele comprises of middle-aged men who live in the heartlands.
Though these men frequent prostitutes, they do not want others to know they’re engaging in the trade of the flesh, especially since most of them are married.
By moving to the HDB heartlands, prostitutes have increased accessibility and privacy.
Rather than going out of their way by making a trip to Geylang and risk being seen with a scantily clad lady on their arm, potential customers can pre-book appointments and head directly up to the HDB flats.
Girls are split into the different areas of Singapore by their ‘agencies’ to ‘conquer all areas’. Pioneer, Boonlay, Jurong East, Bedok, Eunos, Paya Lebar, and Balestier are hotspots.
Daniel points out how these locations are “either the biggest, most matured estates or are residential areas home to a high concentration of foreign workers”.
By moving to the HDB heartlands, Daniel also confirms how his favourite girl has seen a significant increase in numbers. “Men moving around the HDB area aren’t suspicious at all”.
Prostitution In Singapore
Prostitution is the world’s oldest profession, and it will continue to flourish so long there is a demand for such services.
The main reason why vice is moving to the HDB heartlands is that it makes for good business sense to bring their services to where the demand is greatest.