The Chinese government uses the traditional strategy of implementing strict laws regarding sex work with the intention of preventing risk behaviours. Sex workers are subject to administrative penalties, including official warnings, writing self‐criticisms, administrative fines, short‐term detention or longer‐term incarceration
Article 358 of the People’s Republic of China’s Criminal Law stipulates that a person found guilty of forcing a woman into sex work can be sentenced to imprisonment for 5‐10 years. The maximum punishment was subsequently raised to death by the 1991 Decision on Forbidding Prostitution. Article 359 of the Criminal Law states that a person who profits, invites or accommodates a woman for sex work can be sentenced to up to 5 years imprisonment.
The rapid economic growth since the decision to open up the chinese economy in 1978 resulted in a large‐scale, rural‐urban pattern of migration together with widening income gaps. In addition, more tolerant sexual attitudes and increased tourism resulted in the development of the commercial sex industry. The growing economy became the main driver of sex work, and, in turn, the commercial sex industry has grown dramatically over the past two decades sex work in China is officially illegal based on the 1992 Women’s Law and other legislation