Her first free sex was given to a boy from a village. The boy hovered outside of the brothel for a while before approaching her. "How much?" he asked. "How much do you have?" she asked. The answer was 10 yuan ($1.57). She asked how old he was and whether it was the first time. Without answering, he turned and wanted to leave. "All right. Come. It is for free," she took him inside to help him to put on a condom.
Early this year, to better understand and speak for rural sex workers, the 37-year-old feminist and activist Ye Haiyan, who blogs under the name of Liumangyan, or Hooligan Swallow, decided to offer free sex to migrant workers in a dingy brothel in Yulin, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
"Without working as a prostitute, I couldn't imagine what happened in that teeny tiny dingy place," she told the Global Times.
During her two days of posing as a sex worker, she served four rural migrant workers aged from 18 to 50. She said she appreciates some migrant workers cleaned themselves up before they visited, to show their respect.
And she blogged about it. She told stories about the women she met and the men she served on Sina and Tencent microblogs.
"He wasn't confident at first. He asked why such a beautiful woman like me would like to have sex with him. I hugged him and warmed him up. He said I was the kindest woman he had ever met," she wrote.
Illegal but common
The World Health Organization has estimated that China has about 4 million sex workers, but other experts have suggested the figure is higher.
Prostitution is illegal in China. Sex workers who are caught by the police can face a fine of 3,000 yuan, which, at the low rates charged by those serving migrant workers, would mean taking 150 clients.
Ye said her free sex service was intended to help the sexually hungry migrant workers and show the gap between her love for the grass-roots and the government's attitude toward the poor.
It seems that not everyone sees it that way. Eight people broke into her 10-sqaure-meter studio office in Guangxi last Wednesday, smashed the furniture and threatened her with a knife, she said.
It was the second time she has been threatened since March. And she thinks it is because some people think her work in support of sex workers unacceptable.
"I am not a hooligan and I have done nothing wrong! I can't give up my work just because some people can't accept it. Want to stop me? Over my dead body," She blogged.