South Korea has been a hotbed for prostitution for many years. There were over 260,000 prostitutes in Korea in 2003. Those numbers started dwindling sharply when the Korean government passed their strict anti-prostitution laws in 2004 that resulted in hundreds of sex shops being forced to close their doors. The law, that is still intact to this day, states that prostitutes and the men who buy their services are subject to up to a year in prison and a fine of up to 330,000 yen. This made prostitution a much higher risk for the women involved in it and they were forced to look for other places where they could make money without worrying about such a stiff penalty if they were caught. Most of the prostitutes who left Korea made Japan their most popular destination to continue practicing their craft.
Things are starting to look promising in the fight to bring back the South Korean sex trade, but it’s too early to tell if any true change is on the horizon. The Constitutional Court of South Korea recently had their first public hearing to review the country’s laws concerning prostitution. The request to review the law came three years ago from a 41 year old woman who was facing charges of selling sexual services for 14,000 yen. She made the claim that the prostitution laws of South Korea were in violation of her human rights. When the law was finally up for review from the court in South Korea; hundreds of prostitutes showed up in front of the courthouse in protest of the law. This is only the first hearing so it’s hard to tell how much, if any, effect the event will have on the law. In the meantime, South Korea is not a good place for prostitutes.
Many prostitutes left South Korea to sell their services in Japan, but the amount of young women who turn to prostitution continues to grow. A report from the South Korean government was released in February that stated that the unemployment rate for youths was 11.1 percent. The unemployment rate for that demographic has not been that high in South Korea in 6 years. This is forcing many hot young South Korean women to look for work. It is obvious that many of these women will turn to prostitution as a way to make quick cash and it looks like Japan is their best bet.
There are a few things that draw Korean hookers to Japan besides the lesser risk of prosecution. Japan is the closest country where unique fetishes like anime and manga are popular. This means that the girls can sometimes do less sexually for the same pay as long as they satisfy their client’s fetish and give them the experience of being with their favorite character. Japan also focuses more on fashion, sophistication and decadence so the very beautiful girls have the chance to become high-end hookers taking in major amounts of cash. There are now at least 50,000 prostitutes in Japan and that number continues to grow at an alarming rate. Many of the women who decide to offer their services in Japan don’t even need to move to Japan to be a successful prostitute. They travel to Japan on a three month visa, get an inconspicuous day job and sell sexual services at night. The number of prostitutes in Japan has grown so much in the last few years that the price of sexual services is starting to drop. Prostitutes who once charged 30,000 yen now have to charge much less because of the fierce competition that they continue to face from the influx of hot, young Korean prostitutes.