SEOUL - South Korea yesterday announced a crackdown on its nationals evading the country's tough anti-prostitution law by buying sex abroad .
The government will revise the law so that its citizens caught buying sex in foreign countries will have their passports confiscated, the gender equality ministry, the justice ministry and the foreign ministry said in a joint press briefing.
An inter-ministerial team has also been formed to clamp down on brokers who help South Korean girls obtain visas to sell sex abroad and travel agents who arrange sex tours for South Korean men, they said.
"The government agencies share the view that the country's image is being damaged greatly by the purchase of sex [by South Korean travellers] in overseas countries and decided to step up crackdowns on sex trafficking here and abroad as well," they said.
South Korea brought in a tough anti-prostitution law in 2004, punishing clients with fines and throwing pimps in prison.
Last year alone, courts prosecuted 35000 clients, 2,5 times more than those caught buying sex in 2003.
Incidents of South Koreans caught up in the foreign sex trade are increasing sharply. The latest government initiative followed a local TV report last week about South Korean high school pupils allegedly buying sex while they were on field trips to China.
The MBC TV network showed South Korean teenagers venturing into a massage parlour in China. Some said it was common practice. - Sapa-AFP