Thursday, January 25, 2007

Out in the open

Earlier this week we were driving back around 11pm from dinner at the Shangri-La when we stopped at the traffic lights by the Sheraton. The hotel closed down three weeks ago for 10 months' renovation in which the whole hotel will be made over. However from the bumper to bumper traffic of cars entering and exiting the hotel's parking lot you'd be excused if you thought it was still open. The reason all these cars are heading to the Sheraton? Lined up on the sidewalk at the hotel's exit is a long line of Chinese prostitutes. The cars come in, stop in front of the prostitutes, the customers view the merchandise on sale, make a choice, negotiate a price, and the chosen woman drives off in the car. Right there in plain view of anyone on the main street of the city's main business district. Apparently, ground central for these Chinese pros used to be the night club downstairs in the hotel. Now that the hotel has closed down they've taken their business outside. It's not like the police are doing anything about it.


Anonymous said...

I think the demand is so high, its hard to eliminate this profession. However, at the same time I wonder why a police cruiser cant just pass by since the activity is clustered in one area?

Kishor Cariappa said...

This is the same story 365 days. It is so bad that decent working women around Sheraton won't dare to venture out for a walk in the late evenings for the fear of being harassed by "people in car".

Elagante said...

This is crazy!!

NaBHaN said...

that's insane. I just don't understand why they aren't making any effort to stop this, It's not like they're hidden or anything its actually done right infront of your face.

Jassim said...

That is very sad and very disappointing. Stories like this really get to me, but its like this in Dubai as well, but i never hear about it being so obvious that cars will line up at a old hotel and 'view the merchandise' with no discression.

Shame on us :-(

Se7en said...

was driving by sheraton last night saw the same thing.. its quite surprising considering its practically impossible for eastern european single women to get visit visa's to oman.. but the fact that the chinese are now doing it so openly, i won't be surprised before they start moving into more neighborhoods soon.. watch the STD's crisis here begin just like Dubai :/

illogicist said...

It is interesting, considering the MoH is so concerned with HIV in Oman (and rightly so).

But its not so easy to eliminate it. Send out a police cruiser, catch the prostitutes (who are probably no more guilty than the guys paying for their service), you dont get the pimps. More prostitutes will appear somewhere else - and as it goes in this country, everyone will know about it except the police. And the 2nd time round, it'll be more difficult to find them.

Stamping out prostitution needs an effort on more than one front. But still, a friendly 'reminder' to the police that this is all going on right outside the Sheraton wouldn't hurt Im sure.

watchtower said...

It beats to me to think that police have no clue about the happenings around Sheraton. From what I have heard, prostitution is allowed here for two different reasons:

1. People frequent Dubai for paid sex, and this means the money is flowing out of the country.

2. Crime against women increase when a substantial number of people are forced to curb their natural instincts because of non-availability of “resources”.

Arabian Princess said...

I heared that a number of them were caught few days back by the police and an investigation is going about who brought them to the country. Its sad that such things are happening openly, but like illogicist said, all forces should join togther to stop it. No one wants thier bro or son getting STD or HIV!

Nav said...

Excellent blog.

I've been to Oman a few times and have really loved it. In fact I'm going again next week.

Back to the topic at hand - I've had the misfortune of staying at the Holiday Inn (Muscat)and had to check-out as soon as I realised it doubles up as a seedy meat market.

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