MALAYSIA - Malaysian housewives are turning to prostitution to feed their families and, in doing so, are exposing themselves to HIV/Aids, according to disease prevention groups.
One housewife known as Ti offers sex services once or twice a week at her home or at clients' houses, reported Malaysia's The Star.
Instead of walking the streets or waiting in a massage parlour, she advertises her services on social media and websites. She claims she goes for HIV testing once a year and that she insists her clients wear condoms.
"I protect myself. I keep a knife in my purse just in case. But the men are regular customers, so I know them," said the slim and tanned mother of three.
The 29-year-old said the number of her clients has dropped in the past two years, likely due to the increase in arrests of prostitutes and their clients.
Her husband knows that she prostitutes herself.
"He has asked me to stop, but I asked him where will we get the money? He does not earn enough and there is rent to pay and kids to feed," she said.
Her husband earns RM900 (S$350) a month working in a bakery, while she earns about RM400.
Previously, she worked in a coffee shop making drinks and was paid RM20 a day. But she worked long hours and could not afford a babysitter.
"Of course I am angry that I have to do this type of work. I hate myself sometimes and I cry.
"Some day, I will stop," she said as she breastfed her youngest child.
A transgender woman known as Sha, 35, has been selling sex - sometimes at her apartment, other times at clients' homes or hotels. She earns between RM50 and RM150 per session and has been doing this for two years.
For safety, she has her friend waiting in the living room of her apartment.
"I tell them to time me. If it's half an hour, they will knock on the door or I will say that my friends are waiting for me outside.
"I want to stop, but I need to save for the future. It used to be kind of okay, but I am tired and all I think about is the ringgit to keep me going," she said.
Ms Joselyn Pang, director of the Malaysian Aids Council Global Fund Project, said the sex industry is growing because the Internet and mobile phones are used to advertise such services.
Health issues are a concern because these sex workers may be difficult to locate and they are exposing themselves to danger when they bring clients home.
"Their safety is not ensured and they could end up being abused or attacked," Ms Pang said. "What if the client is high on drugs and refuses to put on a condom? Or gets violent?"
BY THE NUMBERS
HIV cases in Malaysia as at September this year.
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