Invisible Trade

Invisible Trade

High-class sex for sale in Singapore

Gerrie Lim

ISBN: 9789814358101
Format: Ebook (also available: Paperback)
Imprint: monsoon
Published: June 2004
Subject: Sexuality

When an ambitious, adventurous gent named Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles “discovered” the tiny Southeast Asian island of Singapore in 1819, claiming it for the British Crown, he envisioned it as a geographical gateway between East and West. Now an independent city-state, Singapore is considered an Asian economic miracle, still a strategic crossroads, but its position on the map has also garnered bluechip status in the international sex industry. Thanks to the constant influx of business travelers, a floating world exists that few talk about, where beautiful escorts from various countries offer discreet companionship for a price, one not usually proffered in the bars and brothels of Asia.

Writer Gerrie Lim investigated this phenomenon and gained access to the secret world of highpriced sex workers. The result is a series of lucid portraits offering insights into this remarkable area of modern commerce. His subjects are women who are lavishly rewarded with money and gifts, some diverging from the oft-trod path to perform kinky services that include whipping and spanking, others being flown to exotic resorts in the company of men with money to burn. He also enters the shadowy domain of gay male escorts and karaoke hostesses, whose views challenge societal norms and question assumptions made about their career choices. The result is a fascinating work of cultural observation, from the vantage point of an eloquent literary voice.

About the Author

Gerrie Lim is the bestselling author of In Lust We Trust, Inside The Outsider and Idol to Icon. He holds an MA in Print Journalism from the University of Southern California and has written for Billboard, Details, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Playboy, Penthouse, The San Diego Union-Tribune, the South China Morning Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Asian Wall Street Journal. He spends his time in both Los Angeles and Singapore.


“This book hit number one on bestseller lists in Singapore.” Publishers Weekly, Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

“At last, after thirty years of my avoiding the city-state, this book restores my faith in the Singapore character and gives me reasons to return.” Paul Theroux

“One of the hottest-selling books here these days is about trade—but it has nothing to do with Singapore’s exports of semiconductors or petrochemicals. ‘Invisible Trade’ is a ground-breaking book on Singapore’s sex industry.” AFP

“Frank, fascinating, weird and unputdownable!” Harper’s Bazaar

“Smart, funny and intoxicating! Who knew that sex in Singapore could be this interesting?” Annabel Chong

“Lim’s ability to capture the essence of his subjects makes for engaging reading. Mixing humour subtly into the text allows the curious reader to flit over the subject matter without getting too drawn into the pathos of the issue.” The Business Times

“Lim’s journalist style is to affect the present tense-the subject shudders, remembers, says, exclaims, grunts-creating a sense of immediacy and, indeed, intimacy while providing his subjects with a sort of timelessness that they probably don’t achieve in reality.” The Asian Review of Books

“Staid old Singapore is breaking out in all sorts of weird and wonderful ways. First there were bar top dancing girls, then they let in ”Sex and the City”—and now there is a buzz about high-class prostitution thanks to Gerrie Lim … Invisible Trade (subtitled “High-Class Sex for Sale in Singapore”) is a pretty engrossing read as Lim takes the reader through a number of candid interviews with high-class Singaporean prostitutes.” The Star

“Kudos to … Gerrie Lim for this under-the-covers expose of high-class sex acts for sale … without any sensationalizing of his ravishable subjects.” I-S magazine

“The focus on sex-for-hire in Singapore has been further sharpened by a new book Invisible Trade on a thriving world of high-class prostitution in Singapore.” Reuters

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