Runaway teenagers turn to prostitution and fraud
By Cecilia Park
A growing number of runaway teenagers are turning to prostitution and fraud in order to survive financially.
Runaway teenagers can't obtain legal employment unless they have parental approval. So they form a “runaway family” or a “runaway farm,” actually a small room in a studio or a motel in which they live together and pay for living expenses through prostitution or committing acts of fraud, according to a TV program.
"Guys find old men to send out the young girls to. They make 100,000 won for sleeping with them for 30 minutes. Sometimes all of us sleep together in a motel room a man gets for the prostitutes," said a 17-year-old from a runaway family in “In-depth 60 Minutes,” a program broadcast on KBS TV1, Wednesday night. "Going back home is suicide. This place is much more comfortable. It's like a sense of freedom and release," said another teenager of the same age.
Two runaway teenage girls vanished, when they received money into their bank accounts after saying they would act as lovers. One of them said, "I made 1 million won in one day and we earned 40 million won in total."
The age of runaway teenagers is becoming younger as well. According to a report by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, number of runaway children under 13 years of age has hiked 2.4-fold in one year.
One elementary school pupil, smelling of alcohol, didn't come home for two days. "Staying home was boring," he said in the TV footage.