November 12, 2012 12:39
One in two prostitutes say they were sexually assaulted, a straw poll suggests, 10 percent before they even started elementary school.
Support group Dasi Hamkke Center run by the Seoul Metropolitan Government interviewed 413 prostitutes and heard that 23 percent were raped while they were in elementary school, 21 percent in middle school and 18 percent in high school.
According to the center, 39 percent of the respondents serviced their first customer when they were between 13 and 19, 29 percent between 20 and 25, 19 percent between 26 and 35, and 4 percent over 36.
Some 55 percent said they suffered domestic violence, with 30 percent experiencing it at preschool age and 49 percent when they were in elementary school.
Asked where they ply their trade, 39 percent said in bars and tea houses, 17 percent in brothels, 14 percent through websites and 13 percent in massage parlors.
The poll suggests that many are unable to start a new life since they are heavily in debt. Some 57 percent of respondents fell into debt due to a vicious cycle whereby pimps advance them money and then charge cutthroat interest.
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