A sex trade report on teenagers revealed some 80 percent of those involved in the youth sex trade between July and December last year were runaway teens. The report was released by the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs on Thursday.
There is a pattern of hard-up runaway teens becoming engaged in the sex trade. The 36 incidences that occurred during the first half of 2008 increased to 69 during the second half.
A ministry official said, "About half, or 44.4 percent, of teens involved in the sex trade say they only do it to earn money for living expenses. Very few are engaged in the sex trade to earn bread for their family, but most of them do it to live after running away from home."
However, the government has nearly no countermeasures to prevent young runaways from getting involved in sex trade. There are only 77 welfare shelters for runaway teenagers nationwide. Moreover, those places only provide them with temporary accommodation and meals, but fail to offer solutions that help send them back home and to school.
The government's monitoring of web-based chat rooms is negligible, even though up to 95 percent of youth sex trade occurs online. Only three ministry officials monitor internet sites, hundreds of which appear and disappear every day.