Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More Koreans Go Abroad for Sex Tourism, NGO Says

The Korea Times
By Chung Ah-young
Staff Reporter

A civic group has urged the government to develop measures to prevent an increasing number of Korean men participating in the overseas sex trade.

The Seoul-based Naeil Women’s Center for Youth said Monday that the participation of Koreans in sexual exploitation in the Philippines and Cambodia is getting serious, and called on the government and the public to raise their awareness of the sexual exploitation of youth in other countries.

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’s 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.

He and his employees faced criminal charges without bail as they violated the Republic Act (RA) 9208, Kim said.

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

The panel also pointed out that Cambodia has recently become popular with Korean tourists.

In 2004, the number of Korean travelers to Cambodia was 128,423, 12.7 percent of the total number of visitors, the largest number of visitors to Cambodia.

``We are afraid 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.

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 poor Cambodian children.

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.


chungay@koreatimes.co.kr
10-31-2005 18:30

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