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Pictures | Tue May 14, 2013 | 5:05pm EDT

China's sex workers

<p>A plainclothes policeman catches a woman during a police crackdown on prostitution in Quanzhou, Fujian province, October 29, 2011. China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to serious police abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on May 14, 2013. The abuses include torture, beatings, physical assaults, fines and arbitrary detentions of up to two years, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses and state agents, according to the report. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978. REUTERS/Stringer</p>

A plainclothes policeman catches a woman during a police crackdown on prostitution in Quanzhou, Fujian province, October 29, 2011. China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to serious police...more

A plainclothes policeman catches a woman during a police crackdown on prostitution in Quanzhou, Fujian province, October 29, 2011. China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to serious police abuses, Human Rights Watch said in a report released on May 14, 2013. The abuses include torture, beatings, physical assaults, fines and arbitrary detentions of up to two years, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses and state agents, according to the report. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>A police officer stands while holding handcuffs during a police crackdown action on prostitution in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, September 12, 2012 .  China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to serious police abuses, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. The abuses include torture, beatings, physical assaults, fines and arbitrary detentions of up to two years, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses and state agents, according to the report.   REUTERS/Stringer</p>

A police officer stands while holding handcuffs during a police crackdown action on prostitution in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, September 12, 2012 . China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to...more

A police officer stands while holding handcuffs during a police crackdown action on prostitution in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, September 12, 2012 . China should remove criminal and administrative penalties against sex workers which often lead to serious police abuses, Human Rights Watch says in a new report. The abuses include torture, beatings, physical assaults, fines and arbitrary detentions of up to two years, as well as a failure to investigate crimes against sex workers by clients, bosses and state agents, according to the report. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>People cover their faces during a police crackdown on prostitution in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, April 15, 2011. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

People cover their faces during a police crackdown on prostitution in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, April 15, 2011. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978....more

People cover their faces during a police crackdown on prostitution in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, April 15, 2011. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Women are seated during a police crackdown on prostitution in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, September 12, 2012. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978. 

REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Women are seated during a police crackdown on prostitution in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, September 12, 2012. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978....more

Women are seated during a police crackdown on prostitution in Wenzhou, Zhejiang province, September 12, 2012. Prostitution is not permitted under Chinese law, although the industry has boomed since the country launched economic reforms in 1978. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>A group of suspected prostitutes put on clothes as Chinese police (not in picture) detain them in a hotel in Yongzhou city, Hunan province, February 11, 2003. REUTERS/China Photo</p>

A group of suspected prostitutes put on clothes as Chinese police (not in picture) detain them in a hotel in Yongzhou city, Hunan province, February 11, 2003. REUTERS/China Photo

A group of suspected prostitutes put on clothes as Chinese police (not in picture) detain them in a hotel in Yongzhou city, Hunan province, February 11, 2003. REUTERS/China Photo

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<p>Prostitutes from mainland China wait for customers inside the shopping mall of a hotel in Macau December 18, 2009, two days before the 10th anniversary of its handover to China. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>

Prostitutes from mainland China wait for customers inside the shopping mall of a hotel in Macau December 18, 2009, two days before the 10th anniversary of its handover to China. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

Prostitutes from mainland China wait for customers inside the shopping mall of a hotel in Macau December 18, 2009, two days before the 10th anniversary of its handover to China. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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<p>A mainland Chinese woman, that worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong, looks out from inside a police van September 19, 2002 before being sent back to China. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>

A mainland Chinese woman, that worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong, looks out from inside a police van September 19, 2002 before being sent back to China. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

A mainland Chinese woman, that worked as a prostitute in Hong Kong, looks out from inside a police van September 19, 2002 before being sent back to China. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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<p>A group of mainland Chinese involved in prostitution in Hong Kong are escorted into a police van at a police station September 19, 2002.  REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>

A group of mainland Chinese involved in prostitution in Hong Kong are escorted into a police van at a police station September 19, 2002. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

A group of mainland Chinese involved in prostitution in Hong Kong are escorted into a police van at a police station September 19, 2002. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

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<p>Suspected prostitutes hide their faces after being detained by local police during a campaign aiming to crack down on illegal venues offering entertainment as well as sex in Xuchang, central China's Henan province, December 11, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

Suspected prostitutes hide their faces after being detained by local police during a campaign aiming to crack down on illegal venues offering entertainment as well as sex in Xuchang, central China's Henan province, December 11, 2006. REUTERS/China...more

Suspected prostitutes hide their faces after being detained by local police during a campaign aiming to crack down on illegal venues offering entertainment as well as sex in Xuchang, central China's Henan province, December 11, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>A policeman checks two masseuses and their customers during a raid at a hotel in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, June 16, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily</p>

A policeman checks two masseuses and their customers during a raid at a hotel in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, June 16, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily

A policeman checks two masseuses and their customers during a raid at a hotel in Changchun, capital of northeast China's Jilin Province, June 16, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>Chinese police detain a suspected prostitute during the "strike hard" anti-crime campaign in the southern city of Dongguan April 25, 2001.  REUTERS/Stringer</p>

Chinese police detain a suspected prostitute during the "strike hard" anti-crime campaign in the southern city of Dongguan April 25, 2001. REUTERS/Stringer

Chinese police detain a suspected prostitute during the "strike hard" anti-crime campaign in the southern city of Dongguan April 25, 2001. REUTERS/Stringer

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<p>Police officers watch over prostitutes during a public parade in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, November 29, 2006.  REUTERS/China Daily</p>

Police officers watch over prostitutes during a public parade in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, November 29, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily

Police officers watch over prostitutes during a public parade in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, November 29, 2006. REUTERS/China Daily

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<p>A prostitute sits in the dark as she waits for customers near a popular bar district in Shanghai June 7, 2003.  REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV</p>

A prostitute sits in the dark as she waits for customers near a popular bar district in Shanghai June 7, 2003. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

A prostitute sits in the dark as she waits for customers near a popular bar district in Shanghai June 7, 2003. REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV

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