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Prostitutes disclose their tragic lives

Posted March. 23, 2001 17:10,   


In the wake of a Feb. 14 fire in the red-light district of Wanwol-dong, Pusan, four girls working as prostitutes there spoke of their plight to reporters and appealed to the public for assistance. The unprecedented press interview was held at the Pusan Women`s Association Hall.

The women said they earned an average of seven million won per month, but each had to spend about 2.3 million won to rent a room, 300,000 won for meals, some 500,000 won to repay debts amounting to an average of 10 million won, and about 800,000 won or more for other miscellaneous expenses.

They also reported spending large amounts of money to treat chronic diseases, in addition to the outlay they had to make for clothes. Their net incomes worked out to about 1.5-2 million won per month. They said they were free to quit their jobs, but only after they paid their debts to their employers.

The fire consumed everything they owned, they said, and four of their fellow prostitutes who were injured in the fire were unable to receive proper medical treatment. Ten others were lodging together at an inn. The prostitutes admitted being exploited by their employers but said they had no legal recourse.

Seok Dong-Bin mobidic@donga.com