Home သတင်း Desperate future of Yangon nightlives

Desperate future of Yangon nightlives

Nway Oo Moung

Yangon roads are wet just after it has rained, and there are small puddles on some parts of the road. One of the crowded places was the main road with a little traffic congestion.

The rush hour in the evening of Yangon, a bus stop on the main road in Mayangone Township was actively swarming with people who tried hard to get on the bus, those who waited for the bus, and those who got off the bus.

Six young girls were standing on the sidewalk across from the bus stop, staring at the cars driving past. Maybe the young girl’s age would be between 20 and 30.

Most of them put on short skirts and wore colorful makeup on their faces. A woman about the age of fifties was seated close by, holding a lunchbox.

Soon after, it was noticed that a car had stopped close by. At that time, one of the young girls with dark hair in the middle of her back moved toward the car. After a short chat with the man in the car, the girl got into the car and drove off.

The other five girls and a woman were staring aimlessly at the platform. They are the ones who would use their bodies to adorn the business city of Yangon; in other words, they are sex workers.

According to the survey done before the coup, there are 66,000 sex workers in Myanmar. There could be more than 100,000 sex workers today estimated by some aid groups.

ရန်ကုန်မြို့ လမ်းမများထက်တွင် အလုပ်လုပ်ရန် စောင့်ဆိုင်းနေကြသည့် လိင်အလုပ်သမများ/Photo: Nway Oo Maung

Place of affluent hunters
Sex workers who would adorn the nightlife of Yangon for a living will seek different markets. As mentioned above, some are expecting their customers from cars on the roads, and there is a sex-worker market in the place of affluent Yangon haunters.

One of the places is the adjacent area of 3 townships, namely Bahan, Tarmwe, and Mingalartaung Nyunt. There have been some famous clubs and beer stations in Yangon in those areas.

It is a quarter of the rich and is popular as the music bands were on that road. It is seen that some high-end cars will be found parked in a line on both sides of the road when going down the road.

The security staff of those shops asked the customers’ high-end luxury cars to park in place by the side of the road. It is around 7 pm. As usual, on Yangon nights, the road is swarming with vehicles and adorned with colorful lights. Some indistinct music from the shop spills over the road.

At that time, it was seen that some young girls dressed to kill in groups were here and there on the road. Some are standing with only two girls and some with three girls in groups.

Among them, a girl who is in her twenties is dressed up in a single-string dress, revealing her nape and fitting jeans. Her style of unkempt hair is pretty cool.

Since the expensive black luxury car had just stopped there not far away from the girls, the young girl made eyes at her friend, standing with her. That’s why her friend stepped forward in the black luxury car.

“Usually they have to deal with bargain prices,” one of the hawkers nearby said, “but during these days, if the cops came some days, they did not come here.”

Actually, this hang-out place for them is an exclusive den of affluent people who go there for luxury and drinking. The area has seen the daylight robbery of clubs, restaurants, and hotels.

Vendors of that area recalled that some young girls standing beside the shops were asked to go to clubs, some were asked to go to beer stations, and some were asked for sex, yet they went along with various rates of money.

ရန်ကုန်မြို့ လမ်းမများထက်တွင် အလုပ်လုပ်ရန် စောင့်ဆိုင်းနေကြသည့် လိင်အလုပ်သမများ/Photo: Nway Oo Maung

Small-scale people’s hang-outs
Another market for sex workers is different from the above-mentioned one. It is the township adjacent to the downtown areas of Yangon. Grassroots and middle-class people usually haunt there.

There are always a lot of lorries on one of the township’s roads, and there is rarely anything going or coming up on the road. Now the time is just around 8 pm, yet not many people are seen at the bus stop.

It was seen that three slovenly-dressed women were leisurely sitting on a bench at the bus stop. As the roadside dim light spilled over them, their lips appeared dark red rather than red.

A tractor-trailer parked not far away from them and it seemed mending. Even in the time of the constant robs and frequent arrests, they were unable to take great care of those hazards outside of their primary source of income. What they are waiting for now is the man who is going to trade off money for their bodies at night.

The place where they hang out now were said to be a place where men could not afford much money for sex. Some of the residents nearby remarked that it was because most of the prostitute seekers who were going to decorate the night of Yangon could not spend much money on going to hotels or guest houses.

Because of this, when customers could not afford to stay in hotels or guest houses to feel the beauty of Yangon nights, they turned to sleep in trucks and lorries.

ရန်ကုန်မြို့ လမ်းမများထက်တွင် အလုပ်လုပ်ရန် စောင့်ဆိုင်းနေကြသည့် လိင်အလုပ်သမများ/Photo: Nway Oo Maung

Streetwalkers’ night in a chaotic nation
Young streetwalkers’ lives in Yangon at night are not easy-going for sex work in the chaotic condition of the country. Sometimes, when unlucky days appear, they must go and serve to Myanmar soldiers of SAC for no fee of charge.

And if they were seen by the soldiers or police on patrol, they faced seizure and all the money they belonged to was taken by the police, said one of the persons close to them.

Additionally, some working girls said that as the nation is not under the rule of law, bad guys are rampant and they bully the sex workers who are no chance to oppose and sometimes mugged the money and tortured them.

“They don’t get many customers these days. The condition income is meager for the meals. So, they must borrow money for daily spending. The interest rate is 20. If they get many customers on some days, they settle back, and then if they are not ok, they must do the same,” a woman close to them explained.

In the above-mentioned 3 places of Yangon, those who work for their daily survival are single women and married ones. Sometimes they have to borrow clothes in order to seduce the male.

According to the surveys conducted before the coup, it was learned that their daily income was around $60 per day. It will be around 60000-70000 MMK at that time’s currency rate.

Still, in the aftermath of the coup, those customers are far fewer than before, so it is no longer a worthwhile job. Some sex workers said they looked for customers from 2 pm to 9 pm but received no customers on some days, so they had to return to their hostel with no money.

Currently, residents of Yangon have complained that the country has been suffering from economic hardship, inflation, and skyrocketing commodity prices and that situations like these force people to seek money in any circumstance.

While some are employed at whatever jobs they have got, some work as robbers and some (nearly all family members) work as beggars. Some have been working to adorn the night for their daily bread by sacrificing their youth and lives.

Ma Moh Moh (used as an alternative name) is one of those sacrificing their lives to maintain the beauty of Yangon’s nightlife. She is from a remote township, and while looking for a job for a living, she came to Yangon. At present, when the remote townships are not so peaceful and lack job opportunities, it is not easy to go back home, so she must stay in Yangon.

Under those circumstances, Ma Moh Moh has knowingly become a streetwalker, decorating the night. As for her, she could not find a job easily in Yangon. So, she must keep on working as a sex worker.

Yet, Ma Moh Moh admitted, “If there is a stable job for my income, I would stop doing this work.”


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