Side Effects of Korea’s Anti-Prostitution Law

I just heard an incredible story about some side effects of the Special Anti-Prostitution Law put into effect in 2004 in South Korea.

My friends and I were discussing the fact that there are very few cocktail bars any more in high-end downtown areas in Seoul. My friend told me that it is because, as a result of the 2004 Anti-Prostition law, female workers (and capital in the prostitution industry, I assume) rushed to other industries, including hostess bars. There is a universal law that cocktails could not be expensive enough to pay the human cost in hostess bars, so many turned into bottle charge bars where hostesses consume a considerable amount of their customers’ bottles and charge them extra for serving at the table. According to my friend, there has been a huge increase in the number of ‘perverse’ bars (bikini bars etc). In high-end areas, this system functions because it is usually government officials and corporate businessmen who regularly go to these expensive bars.

Another phenomenon that was triggered partly by the 2004 law was sex trafficking towards abroad. The Asia Foundation seems to have held a conference on this issue. They discussed at the conference that, combined with the credit card debt crisis among young people in Korea around the same time, many female college students in debt were recruited to serve in the sex industry in Japan for a summer in return for clearing their debts. He told us an episode of how one girl and her family escaped from sex trafficking to Japan, which was incredible…

Category(s): Korea, Travel

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