The city was declared a special economic zone in 1984; by the twenty-first century what had been a small fishing community developed an advanced commercial sector and a correspondingly large sex industry.
The British naval port of Portsmouth had a flourishing local sex industry in the 19th century, and until the early 1990s there were large red light districts near American military bases in the Philippines.
In some countries where operating a brothel is legal, some brothel operators may chose to operate illegally.
Some men and women may travel away from their home to engage with local prostitutes, in a practice called sex tourism, though the destination pattern tends to differ between them.
Sex work in a brothel is considered safer than street prostitution.
Prostitution and the operation of brothels is legal in some countries, but illegal in others.