‘Easy to Borrow, Hard to Repay’ Credit and Debt in Ho Chi Minh City’s Sex Industry

Paris, France: Alliance Anti-Trafic (2020)
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Abstract

This study examines the inner workings of credit and debt in the sex industry in Ho Chi Minh City, the megalopolis of Southern Vietnam. It argues that credit is widely available to financially excluded sex workers, but that this availability comes with tight constraints. As one sex worker put it bluntly, ‘it is easy to borrow, but it is hard to repay.’ This tension summarizes the financial lives of indoor and outdoor sex workers who borrow money from the informal credit market to fund consumption and make ends meet.

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