Tougher laws for seeking paid sex with minors

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Tougher laws for seeking paid sex with minors

Those who try to lure minors into paid sex either over the Internet or offline will be punished starting next year, according to the Health Ministry on Sunday.

Under a revised law on sexual protection for children and minors, which takes effect on Jan. 1, 2010, people merely enticing those in that age group into paid sex will be subject to prison terms of up to one year or 10 million won ($8,500) in fines.

Payment can be defined in a number of ways, from cash to presents such as a place to live.

“We found that more than 90 percent of purchased sex [with minors] took place via Internet chatting or on cyber dating sites. We expect the number of related cases to be greatly reduced following the measure,” said a Health Ministry spokesman.

The ministry is considering punitive actions for those who make false reports.

To make it easier to report potential criminals, the ministry will develop and distribute computer software called “Youth Keeper.” The software will be downloaded from the Web sites of not only the Health Ministry but also the education and gender ministries and the National Police Agency.

Users launch the youth protection program and click the “report” icon to report potential crimes.

A screen shot is saved as an image file that can become evidence.

Final reporting is made to the National Police Agency after the user types his or her name and date of birth.

By Seo Ji-eun []

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