When people think of the sex industry, Thailand and the Philippines will most likely come up in the minds of many. Prostitution was limited to certain areas in Georgetown, Ipoh, Johor Bahru, Kauntan, and in KL itself. However, over the last few years, these areas have expanded with the mushrooming of massage parlors all over Malaysia.
Although prostitution is illegal in Malaysia, it is there for all to see today on the streets of Kuala Lumpur, with little apparent enforcement.
Kuala Lumpur has a number of red light districts. Bukit Bintang is probably the most upmarket where it is mingled in with some of the most exclusive shopping centres in town. Massage parlors, brothels, and street walkers can all be found around this area.
The sex industry was once the domain of local prostitutes, but this has almost totally changed over the last decade. Foreign prostitutes from China, Burma (Myanmar), Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, and Cambodia have swamped the locals, and now predominate. In addition, there are many prostitutes from African countries who work outside many of the bars and nightspots around KL. These mostly foreign prostitutes, operating from local guest houses, will congregate outside nightclubs in Bukit Bintang, Jalan Sultan Ismail, and Jalan Imbi.
Lorong Haji Taib is much more down market than Bukit Bintang, where little hotels and guest houses double as brothels. There is a mix of foreign, Indian, Chinese, and some local prostitutes operating in this area. Many transgenders operate in the adjacent Chow Kit area both from lanes at the back of little guest houses and on the street. These little lanes behind the shops in Chow Kit really only become busy after midnight.
Some very low class “Tiger” or sex shows operate out of Jalan Haji Taib and Bukit Bintang areas.
Brothels and massage parlors also exist along Jalan Alor, Jalan Hicks, and Jalan Thamibipilly in the Brickfields area. Streetwalkers also operate around Brickfields and Jalan Petaling, where clients are taken to one of the cheap Chinese hotels for service.
Many girls work as Guest Relations Officers (GROs) in the many karaoke and Japanese bars in Klang Valley. These girls are more choosy and require a customer spending time and money on them in the bar before being able to take them out for a negotiated price. Chinese, Vietnamese, Thais, and Cambodians tend to work out of these establishments, while the Indonesians tend to work out of the many Dangdut Pubs, with their raunchy Indonesian dancing around Klang Valley.
There are numerous escort services available throughout Klang Valley. Most have girls of many nationalities who can visit most hotels. They advertise openly both through the internet and in the local press along with many freelance workers who also offer their services online and in these newspapers.