Authorities in ex-Soviet Tajikistan have detained more than 500 prostitutes during raids aimed at cracking down on the underground sex industry, police said on Thursday.
Police in the impoverished majority-Muslim country detained 505 women over the past three days in the Tajik capital Dushanbe, a police spokesman said. Some 30 of the women were fined.
Authorities in the Central Asian nation said they had to react after they became inundated with complaints from ordinary Tajiks.
"Recently we have received a lot of complaints from people about this immoral phenomenon," a police spokesman told AFP.
"In the evening and night-time prostitutes would freely stand by the roadside unashamed, drawing everyone's attention."
Officials appealed for help from the public in exposing prostitution dens.
The average monthly salary in Tajikistan, the poorest country to emerge from the Soviet Union, is around $40 dollars (30 euros).
Many of the women involved in prostitution come from the countryside and travel to the cities in search of work, charging around $10-20 for their services.
Around 40 percent of the country's eight million people live in poverty, with an estimated one million working age men working abroad, mainly in Russia.