This paper discusses women’s involvement in sex work management – an offence defined under Section 358 of the 1997 Chinese Criminal Law and one of the re-emerged areas of illegality following the economic reforms since 1978. It firstly provides the historical context, legislative background and relevant sections of the Chinese vice laws so as to help make sense of the data obtained. Then it discusses the methodological issues before presenting the empirical findings to explore the socio-demographic profile of the incarcerated female sex work organisers participated in this study and their motivations for organising others for prostitution. Based on empirical data, this article explores the impact of social conditions on female offenders in China’s reform era and also the effects of the anti-prostitution policy in the country. Moreover, through a Chinese case study, it makes contributions to broader scholarship on the sex trade regulation. It concludes with a couple of implications for policy and practice.