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[Source: Seah Chiang Nee, The Star, May 30, 2004 *~*] “A Western journalist says there are about 400 brothels in the city, each with about 10 to 20 prostitutes, or a total of 6000.

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[Source: Takehiko Kajita, Kyodo, June 18, 2005 ] “The existence of Karayuki-san in Singapore dates back to 1877, when there were two Japanese-owned brothels on Malay Street with 14 Japanese prostitutes, official Japanese data show.

Malay Street and the nearby streets of Malabar, Hylam and Bugis later grew into a big red-light district.

In the mid 2000s, private social escort firms openly advertised the services of “young, energetic and intelligent girls” in their 20s for S$150-$200 an hour or S$1000 a night.

[Source: Seah Chiang Nee, The Star, September 17, 2006] Philip Lim of Agence France Presse wrote: Singapore has long been perceived as a conservative, even prudish, city-state but it has a thriving sex industry dating back to its beginnings as a key trading port of the then British empire.

Japan was a poor country a century ago, and women were one of its major exports, along with silk and coal.

Karayuki-san, together with other Japanese women who served as prostitutes elsewhere, including Siberia, Hawaii, Australia and some parts of India and Africa, were said to be the third-biggest foreign currency earner for Japan at the turn of the 20th century.

To maintain social order, British colonial rulers tolerated prostitution at designated brothels, bringing in Chinese and Japanese women in droves.

As Japan's international profile rose with victories in the Sino- Japanese War in 1894, the Russo-Japanese War in 1904 and its having sided with the victors of World War I, Japan began to view Japanese prostitutes working overseas as a national shame.

“Singapore's legalisation of the sex trade makes it a "pragmatic" and "unusual" exception in a region where prostitution thrives but is officially banned, said Reuben Wong, a political scientist at the National University of Singapore.

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