Half of them suffer sexual violence
Female victims of the sex trade are getting younger with one out of two experiencing sexual violence.
Thirty-nine percent of 413 females, who received consultations for three years since 2009, were teenagers, the largest number in all age groups, according to Dasi Hamkke Center, a support center for the victims of sex trafficking in Seoul, Monday.
The next largest group was in the 20-25 age group at 29 percent, followed by 26-35 years at 19 percent, and those above 36, 4 percent.
Half of the 78 female sex trade victims the center conducted consultations in detail on were found to have been raped. Ten percent of them experienced sexual violence before entering elementary school, 23 percent during elementary school, 21 percent in middle school and 18 percent in high school.
Fifty-five percent suffered domestic violence _ 44 percent seriously _ including being punched and kicked three or more times a week, being verbally abused and neglected. Most of domestic violence took place in childhood: before school at 30 percent and in elementary school at 49 percent.
"Making money" was cited as the main reason for entering prostitution by 40 percent of those surveyed, followed by recommendations from their friends at 35 percent. Sixty-four percent of them attempted suicide, with 68 percent of these making repeated attempts. Seven out of 10 said they ran away from home, of whom 72 percent did so during their middle school days.
Fifty-one percent worked in Seoul _ the largest amount _ followed by Incheon and Gyeonggi Province with 19 percent and Gyeongsang Provinces with 9 percent. Room saloons, bars and tea rooms where coffee is delivered to offices were the main avenues of sex trade at 37 percent, followed by brothels at 17 percent, the Internet with 14 percent and massage parlors, 13 percent.
The largest obstacle for female victims in stopping sale of sex was owing money to loan sharks and pimps at a high interest rate.
"A considerable number of sex trade victims ran away from home after being exposed to sexual and domestic violence before adolescence," said a city official. "The city will make efforts to find adolescents exposed to the sex trade as soon as possible and install a health center to deal with their physical and mental problems."