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Prostitution in Vietnam is illegal and considered a serious crime. Sex workers organisations report that law enforcement is abusive and corrupt. The "Ordinance on Prostitution Prevention and Combat"  states:. Following complaints that Article A survey of prostitutes by the Vietnamese government-run "Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs" found that 44 percent of prostitutes had suffered violence at the hands of clients. The "Vietnam Network of Sex Workers" have called for decriminalization to make sex work safer.
Prostitutes would feel safe calling the police to report instances of violence and abuse by clients, traffickers, and pimps to law enforcement officials. Le Duc Hien, deputy director of a government department tasked with fighting social evils under the labor ministry, crystallized this by telling the media: "It would be a strategic mistake to tap prostitution as an industry to boost tourism revenues. What would happen if we recognize sex work as a profession but fail to manage it later on?
During the Vietnam War , a whole sex industry sprung up around American servicemen. Sometimes, the prostitutes got pregnant. The resulting Amerasian children, of whom there were estimated to be about 50,, were ostracized and given the derisive name bui doi 'dust of life'.
Often, these children were themselves forced into prostitution. During the war, hooch maids would often clean up after the soldiers in their dwellings. One soldier described the maids as being, " There is a problem of HIV among sex workers. Fear of detection prevents prostitutes accessing health services and so infections go untreated and spread. At a conference it , a paper presented by Vietnam's Labor Ministry, said 9. Lack of access to condoms and medical services were primary causes.
A study of 5, prostitutes published in by "Drug Alcohol Depend" concluded that injected drug use is also a key risk factor for HIV transmission amongst prostitutes. Vietnamese prostitution is not confined to the country itself.