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More Koreans Buy Sex Abroad1

November 2005

A civic group has urged the South Korean government to come up with countermeasures against an increasing number of Korean men participating in the overseas sex trade.

The Seoul-based Naeil Women's Center for Youth said Monday that Kim Young-ran, head of the center, and other participants in an international symposium described a couple of cases in which Korean men had sexual intercourse with underage prostitutes in other countries.

The center yesterday held an international symposium on the theme of "Conditions and Countermeasures to Overseas Child and Youth Sex Tourism by Korean Men" at Seoul Women'ss Plaza in Taebang-dong, southwestern Seoul.

According to the panel and the center, a Korean man operating a massage parlor with his masseuses in the Philippines was arrested on charges of prostitution in August 2004.

They faced criminal charges without bail as they violated the Republic Act (RA) 9208, Kim said.

An increasing number of Koreans buy sex in the Philippines, sometimes abusing prostitutes. The Philippine government has urged the Korean government to take firm action against soliciting prostitution, in particular buying sex from children.

The panel also pointed out that Cambodia is recently becoming popular with Korean tourists.

In 2004, the number of Korean travelers was 12.7 percent or 128,423, the largest number in the total tourist population visiting Cambodia.

There is a possibility that a mounting number of Korean tourists in Cambodia might contribute to boosting the sex industry and human trafficking, especially threatening children who are vulnerable to sexual exploitation. The panel said that children are sometimes coerced into the sex trade to earn money for their families.

They said Korean tourists are believed to abuse the unfortunate situation of Cambodian children living under the poverty line. The center said Korean travel agencies have joined the international effort to eradicate child prostitution across borders.

The Ministry of Culture and Tourism has offered educational programs for Korean tourists and agencies to prevent sex tourism in other countries.

The center has joined End Child Prostitution, Child Pornography and Trafficking of Children for Sexual Purposes (ECPAT) in 2004, which currently has 73 nongovernmental organizations in 67 countries worldwide.


1 Adapted from: Chung Ah-young. "More Koreans Buy Sex Abroad." The Korea Times. October 31, 2005.

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