Around 10 percent of Korean prostitutes work in brothels in the U.S., Japan, Australia and other countries, police estimate. They are also increasingly going to Dubai, according to a report by Busan police for the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family.
According to the Busan Metropolitan Police, most prostitutes working in brothels overseas leave Korea on two-month travel visas and earn W20-30 million (US$1=W1,158) a month.
"Half of the sex workers do it to pay off debts and half voluntarily. We estimate around 20,000 work in brothels in Japan and some 10,000 in Australia, but many of the ones who go to the U.S. enter the country illegally through Mexico, so it's not easy to keep tabs," said Nam Jae-woo, head of the international crimes investigation at the Busan Metropolitan Police.