A poll by marriage agencies Bien-Aller and Only-U asked 534 single Korean men and women what they feared when it came to potential life partners.
34.5% of Korean men are concerned that potential mates may have been involved in the sex trade, the survey found.
According to the Korean Ministry of Gender Equality more than 500 000 women worked in the Korean sex industry in 2007. As there are 10 million Korean females between the ages of 13 and 43 in South Korea, that is 1 in 20 Korean women were working in the Korean sex industry in 2007. After the Global Financial Crisis in late 2007 that figure of 500 000 is likely to be much higher.
According to the Hankyoreh newspaper, there were 120 000 middle school and high school girls living on the streets of Korea in 2012, with 60 000 of them surviving through prostitution. With the slowdown in the Korean economy – as Chinese smartphone manufacturers surpassed Samsung’s sales in China – the number of vulnerable teenage Korean girls is likely to be much higher.
As there are 1.8 million Korean girls between the ages of 13 and 18, about 3.5% of Korean female teenagers resort to prostitution to survive. i.e. One in every classroom.
These prostitution figures do not take into account Korean women who resort to occasional prostitution. e.g. Skipping a semester to work in a room salon to pay credit card debt, skipping a year for a working girl’s holiday in Australia to pay for accumulated college tuition debt and call out services to motels to pay for credit card debts of indigent boyfriends.
The Korean Feminist Association claims that 20% of Korean women either are, or have been, prostitutes.
Thus, between 5% and 20% of the time those 34.5% of Korean males in the survey suspicious of their potential spouses would be correct.
The Korean prostitution industry is valued at USD 13 billion per annum and employs 500 000 Korean prostitutes. This means that the 28 000 US service men and women protecting South Korea and the 10 000 English teachers in South Korea have been busy spending an average of USD 35 000 each on Korean prostitutes per year. That’s USD 95 a day for each US soldier, airman, sailor and non-Korean English teacher. i.e 2 Korean prostitutes are bought every 24 hours by every US soldier, airman, sailor and non-Korean English teacher in South Korea.
The US State Department estimates that there were only 200,000 to 300,000 prostitutes working in Thailand in 2008.