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Minor sex trade rises despite prostitution crackdown

Feb 15,2005
Minors have turned to the Internet to advertise their availability for prostitution after a crackdown on brothels, police said yesterday.
School winter vacation and easy Internet access throughout the country have contributed to an increase in minors involved in the sex trade, a police official explained when announcing statistics.
After a 40-day police crackdown in January on sex workers and customers, police arrested 567 men for having sex with juveniles, a 32 percent increase over 2004 when 371 men were arrested.
The number of teenagers arrested for selling sex has also increased 33 percent this year from 285 to 379. A report showed that 82 percent of the teenagers met the partners through the Internet. The teenagers were paid between 100,000 to 150,000 won ($97 to $145) per meeting.
Under the newly introduced laws, those who have sex with a prostitute can face a jail term of up to one year and a fine ranging up to 3 million won ($2,631). To avoid this, men are using the Internet to meet teenage partners thinking it is safer, officials pointed out. A police official said, “With teenagers actively looking for customers, juvenile prostitution is increasing.”
A high school student arrested last year confessed, “I started this when I heard from my friends that the Internet has become popular among men looking for sex partners.” Police said 42 percent of teenagers sell sex for spending money, 33 percent to earn a living and 3 percent out of sexual curiosity. The remaining 22 percent gave a variety of responses.
“The rise of the teenager sex trade is not due to the new law,” Superintendent Lee Guem-hyeong of National Police Agency said. “It is because Internet accessibility has increased.”
Ms. Lee stressed that the national police will continue to strictly enforce laws prohibiting sex with minors.


by Kim Seung-hyun


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