A lot of sex workers tell me they’ve had clients from the police. - Vanessa Ho, Project X

Singapore is well-known for strict rules and hefty fines for offenses like littering, chewing gum and spitting. Behind this wholesome veneer, there is a city of vice. Every night, hundreds of sex workers are out on the streets, in brothels and apartments, or chatting with clients online.

Who are these workers? What are their lives like? And in a country boasting the seventh highest GDP per capita in the world, how do teenagers still end up turning tricks?

Today’s guest

Vanessa Ho is the director of Project X, an NGO working in sex worker health and advocacy. The organization has several active and former sex workers among its team. It has raised eyebrows for its use of social media to challenge taboos, telling the stories of Singapore’s sex-workers and lobbying the government for better protection for workers.

This podcast is available via SoundCloud, Stitcher and iTunes apps.

Editor: Olivia Yang