Torture in  [South Korea]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [South Korea]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [South Korea]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [South Korea]  [other countries]

Child Prostitution

The Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children

In the early years of the 21st Century                                           

Republic of Korea - ROK

(South Korea)

Since the 1960s, South Korea has achieved an incredible record of growth and integration into the high-tech modern world economy.

The government promoted the import of raw materials and technology at the expense of consumer goods and encouraged savings and investment over consumption.  [The World Factbook, U.S.C.I.A. 2009]


CAUTION:  The following links and accompanying text have been culled from the web to illuminate the situation in South Korea.  Some of these links may lead to websites that present allegations that are unsubstantiated, misleading or even false.   No attempt has been made to validate their authenticity or to verify their content.



If you are looking for material to use in a term-paper, you are advised to scan the postings on this page and others to see which aspects of child prostitution are of particular interest to you.  You might be interested in exploring how children got started, how they survive, and how some succeed in leaving.  Perhaps your paper could focus on runaways and the abuse that led to their leaving.  Other factors of interest might be poverty, rejection, drug dependence, coercion, violence, addiction, hunger, neglect, etc.  On the other hand, you might choose to write about the manipulative and dangerous adults who control this activity.  There is a lot to the subject of Child Prostitution.  Scan other countries as well as this one.  Draw comparisons between activity in adjacent countries and/or regions.  Meanwhile, check out some of the Term-Paper resources that are available on-line.


Check out some of the Resources for Teachers attached to this website.


NGO Warns Of Spread Of 'Enjo Kosai' In Asia

Yoshimi Nagamine, Yomiuri Shimbun, May 5, 2004

At one time this article had been archived and may possibly still be accessible [here]

[accessed 24 July 2011]

In South Korea, 222 girls aged 18 or younger were arrested for enjo kosai in 2000, and 63 percent of them were 16 or under.  Although South Korea enacted a law in 2000 to protect children from prostitution, the government has punished girls who engaged in enjo kosai, saying that children who willingly commit prostitution are not protected by the law.


*** ARCHIVES ***

ECPAT Global Monitoring Report on the status of action against commercial exploitation of children - SOUTH KOREA [PDF]

ECPAT International, 2006

[accessed 24 July 2011]

South Korea’s rapid socio-economic development has improved the quality of life for its children and youth, narrowed the gender gap and improved access to education. At the same time, the influence of a strong sexual culture and ‘sex merchandising’ and the rapid development of information technology (IT) – telecommunications and other media – have contributed to an increase in the commercial sexual exploitation of children (CSEC).

South Korea has one of the highest numbers of Internet users in the world: nearly 80 per cent of the population. Research conducted in 2005 by the Naeil Women’s Centre for Youth (the ECPAT group in the country) showed that the Internet is now a more popular venue for trading in sex than ‘ticket tea houses’ (escort-type services offering prostitution).

The non-governmental organization (NGO) Korean Women’s House reports an average of 100,000 runaway children and youths per year, many of whom are employed in entertainment establishments for adults and are sexually exploited. Research conducted by the Naeil Women’s Centre for Youth confirmed that runaway children are at a high risk of being sexually exploited commercially. Of the 442 runaway youths (326 females, 116 males) interviewed, 81 per cent were aged between 13 and 18, while 19 per cent were over 19 years of age. Forty-three per cent of the 442 runaway youths had been approached to engage in the sex trade, and 24 per cent had experience of commercial sex after running away. Friends’ houses and jiimjiibang (sauna/bath houses which operate 24 hours a day and provide sleeping facilities) were cited as popular places for the runaways to sleep at night as they are relatively safe and cheap. However, recent legislation prohibits underage customers, without accompanying adults, from staying in the jiimjiibang after 10 pm, thereby increasing the vulnerability of runaway minors to violence and sexual abuse, as few other safe options exist.

Human Rights Reports » 2005 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices

U.S. Dept of State Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, March 8, 2006

[accessed 23 December 2010]

CHILDREN - The Youth Protection Law provides for prison terms of up to three years or a fine of up to $17,680 (20 million won) for owners of entertainment establishments who hire persons under the age of 19. The Commission on Youth Protection also expanded the definition of "entertainment establishment" to include facilities, such as restaurants and cafes, where children were hired illegally as prostitutes.

Concluding Observations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC)

UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, 31 January 2003

[accessed 23 December 2010]

[54] The Committee welcomes the enactment in 2000 of the Juvenile Protection Act, which aims to penalize those purchasing sexual services from children. However, the Committee is concerned that this Act is not being effectively implemented, and that there is limited data available on the prevalence of child sexual exploitation. It is also concerned at reports of the widespread phenomenon of "Wonjokyuje" in which adolescent girls engage in a sexual relationship with older men for money.

Indonesia Seeks Dignified Relationship With Korea

Kang Shin-who, The Korea Times, 2007-09-13

[accessed 24 July 2011]

An Indonesian government leader has asked Koreans to show respect to her nation, referring to foreigners reportedly using child prostitutes in Bali.

``We hope to have a dignified relationship with Korea and want Korean people to respect Indonesia. There are many foreigners who look for child prostitution in Bali, although having sex with children is subject to severe punishment,’’ the minister said in an interview with The Korea Times Wednesday.  The minister’s remarks indicate that the Indonesian government wants to prevent sex trade in the country by asking other countries to take a more active role, instead of his country metering out severe punishment to sex tourists.  Child sex traders or abusers can be sentenced to a maximum 15 years in prison in Indonesia, but the country is rather lenient on foreigners as it is concerned that the strict control of foreigners would damage the tourism business.

Seoul Denies Human Trafficking Accusations

Kang Shin-who, Asian Sex Gazette, 8 September 2006

[accessed 23 December 2010]

Seoul officials yesterday challenged the United States’ portrayal of Korea as ``a frequent destination for trafficked women and children from the former Soviet Union and neighboring Asian nations.’’

Indonesia traffics children who often become sexually enslaved, said the report, and women and girls as young as 10 years old from Kyrgyzstan are transported for sexual exploitation and end up in countries like South Korea, the report said.

Five Years After Stockholm [PDF]

ECPAT: Fifth Report on implementation of the Agenda for Action

ECPAT International, November 2001

[accessed 13 September 2011]

[B] COUNTRY UPDATES – KOREA (REP.) – The recent Act on Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation came into effect on July 1st 2000. The substantial feature is the public disclosure about persons convicted under the Act.  Under the new law, brokers in the child prostitution business, producers of child pornography and those who commit sexual crimes against children will also be subject to severe penalties. Clients convicted of having sex with child victims will be subject to maximum three-year imprisonment. Child victims are immune from criminal prosecution though they will undergo rehabilitation, counseling, and/or protection.

Korea Must Counter Foreign Reports on Child Prostitution

Moon Gwang-lip, The Korea Times, 8 September 2004

[accessed 23 December 2010]

South Korea should conduct comprehensive research on the present condition of child prostitution in the nation in order to prevent distorted or exaggerated foreign reports on the problem, a visiting Dutch legal expert on human trafficking said.  The matter is not the number itself.  The situation of children being exploited in the sex industry is a huge problem.  In that sense, the Korean government should come up with solutions, not just protest against the reports.

All material used herein reproduced under the fair use exception of 17 USC § 107 for noncommercial, nonprofit, and educational use.  PLEASE RESPECT COPYRIGHTS OF COMPONENT ARTICLES.  Cite this webpage as: Patt, Prof. Martin, "Child Prostitution – ROK (South Korea)",, [accessed <date>]



Torture in  [South Korea]  [other countries]
Human Trafficking in  [South Korea]  [other countries]
Street Children in  [South Korea]  [other countries]
Child Prostitution in  [South Korea]  [other countries]