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This class of people, mustering perhaps here in Hong Kong not more than 2,000 persons, are entirely beyond the argument of this essay.

To understand the social bearings of domestic servitude as it obtains in Hong Kong, it must be observed that although the Chinese residents of Hong Kong are under British rule and live in close proximity to English social life, there has always been an impassable gulf between respectable English and Chinese society in Hong Kong.

The two forms of social life have exercised a certain influence upon each other, but the result now visible is, that while Chinese social life has remained exactly what it is on the mainland of China, the social life of many foreigners in Hong Kong has comparatively degenerated, and not only accommodated itself in certain respects to habits peculiar to the system of ‚ÄĘpatriarchalism, but caused a certain disrespectable but small class of Chinese to enter into a social alliance with foreigners, which, while detaching them from the restraining influence of the custom and public opinion of Chinese society, left them uninfluenced by the moral powers of foreign civilisation.

The Tanka did not marry with the Chinese; being descendants of the natives, they were restricted to the waterways.

They supplied their women as prostitutes to British sailors and assisted the British in their military actions around Hong Kong.

But in 1932, the Hong Kong government issued a ban on prostitution and three years later licensed prostitution ended.

From that time on, prostitution was permitted within strict limits while prohibiting a whole host of activities surrounding prostitution, such as soliciting for sex and living off "immoral earnings" (working as a pimp).

However, most of the commercial sex worker industry consists of women working in small, usually one room apartments, usually referred to as "one-woman brothels", the equivalent of the "walk-up brothel" in the United Kingdom.

They advertise for clients through the Internet and local classifieds.

Consequently, almost every "protected woman keeps a nursery of purchased children or a few servant girls who are being reared with a view to their eventual disposal, according to their personal qualifications, either among foreigners here as kept women, or among Chinese residents as their concubines, or to be sold for export to Singapore, San Francisco, or Australia.

Those protected women, moreover, generally act as protectors each to a few other Tan-ka women who live by sly prostitution.

To attract attention, brothels were displaying large street number plates, and the area became known as "Big Number Brothels".

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