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VIETNAM - Apr 17, 2003

In the first case of its kind, two Vietnamese men have been sentenced to prison for operating a gay brothel in Saigon. According to the Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper, Nguyen Van Tuan was given 10 years and Truong Hoang Minh Tuan received 5 1/2 years on charges of "harboring prostitution and disseminating depraved cultural items."

Police raided Tuan's home last year and discovered a male couple having sex while nine other young men were on hand waiting for customers. Pornographic videos were also found that were used to entertain customers.

According to the police the service had been in operation since 1999 and customers were charged US.50 per visit. The two men promoted the brothel in the local gay community as well as internationally through Internet message boards.

The communist government estimates that there are 40,000 female prostitutes in the country, but no records have been kept regarding male hustlers. While prostitution is illegal in Vietnam, there are no laws against homosexuality.


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