The Chinese government’s approach to prostitution is inconsistent. After the Communist victory in 1949, Mao Zedong made the rehabilitation of prostitutes, whom the Communists saw as victims of capitalist exploitation, a priority. During his first years in power, he effectively eradicated the trade. But the introduction of market overhauls in the early 1980s led to a resurgence in prostitution, and up to six million women were estimated to be working in the sex industry in recent years, according to a United Nations report....IN THE COMMENTS: EDH says:
The indignities of incarceration do little to dissuade women who can earn more than $1,000 a month as prostitutes, triple the average income for unskilled laborers in China. Ms. Li, the single mother of two, said she was illiterate and could never make as much money in a conventional job.
Seems like two separate policy issues: How to regulate the market activity of prostitution, and forced labor in the penal system.And I say:
I know. It seems like the NYT intended to crank the reasoning forward a few steps and then didn't do it. There's a whole communism vs. capitalism theme. Mao "effectively eradicated" prostitution. Now, China, moving into capitalism, has women drawn into sex work because it pays 3x as much as other available work, and then they are imprisoned and used for unpaid labor (and also made to pay the costs of imprisonment), so both of these things have to do with a profit motive. But the article never says that. It begins and ends with "human interest" material about a particular woman folding paper flowers or sewing stuffed animals. Something really unformed about this article! Where are the human-interest details about the prostitutes Mao effectively eradicated?