SOUTH KOREA – It is 10.30am and Madam Park (not her true identify) is out prowling the streets of central Jongo district, Seoul, waiting to make a brief sale.
This 78-year-previous targets grey-haired adult males, in practising the world’s oldest profession.
At Seoul’s coronary heart, upcoming to the busy company district, is a road the place intercourse is for sale by females previous ample to be grandmothers. These so-identified as ‘Bacchus ladies’ – named immediately after a well-known vitality drink – are the issue of an investigation by Channel NewsAsia’s Get Rea! documentary on South Korea’s elderly inadequate, which premieres on Jan 31.
At her age, Mdm Park must be at home, surrounded by her small children and grandchildren. In its place, she stands on the streets for at the very least six several hours a day, waiting for clients.
“In purchase to endure, I just near my eyes and get it over with,” she explained in Korean. “In a single day, if there is great luck, we meet a few to 4 adult males and obtain about one hundred,000 gained (S$a hundred and twenty).”
She does this so that she can afford to pay for the US$250 (S$350) value of arthritis drugs a thirty day period. Her arthritis is so severe that she can barely walk.
When Channel NewsAsia approached her on the road, she explained: “You arrived to enjoy? To meet someone? The place fee is US$10. The fee for the girl is US$thirty.”
Observe: Madam Park’s tale (2:forty six)
Could not Obtain ANY OTHER Work
Mdm Park explained that she married when she was 19. When she was in her late 20s, her husband gambled absent the family home and remaining her by yourself to elevate 4 small children.
She was working as a kitchen area helper and could not afford to pay for to send out them to college. Now they really do not earn ample to assistance her, and she promises that they do not care about her. She now lives with her family in a compact household and they have barely ample to live by.
Mdm Park explained that her knees gave way when she was in her early 70s and she could not obtain a job. Desperate for foodstuff and treatment, she became a Bacchus woman.
“Even if I am heading to die, I require the drugs. The day immediately after upcoming, I will go to the hospital and get an injection for the bones. It is so painful,” she explained.
Prostitution is illegal in South Korea and Mdm Park explained that she has been caught and fined various times by the police. Even so, desperate times calls for desperate measures.
“It is embarrassing. I am embarrassed since I am previous,” she explained. Aside from the eighty two-year-previous grandmother who is the street’s oldest intercourse-employee, “I am the upcoming oldest. And upcoming is 60-in addition years previous. There is no a single below 50. All of them have grandchildren,” she explained.
Elderly POVERTY AND Inadequate PENSIONS
South Korea has a single of the world’s speediest ageing populations and practically fifty percent of its elderly live in poverty.
Its pension and welfare systems for the elderly lag behind other created countries practically fifty percent of South Koreans aged sixty five and older live on fewer than fifty percent the countrywide median cash flow.
A soup kitchen area in South Korea caters to the elderly inadequate.
Professor Lee Ho-Sunshine, from the Korea Soongsil Cyber College in Seoul, who has been researching these ‘Bacchus ladies’ for years, explained that most only started advertising intercourse later in existence.
She explained that among 2013 and 2014, the selection of ‘Bacchus ladies’ peaked at about 300 to four hundred in the Jongno neighbourhood by yourself.
“I can’t notify when they (Bacchus females) started but most of them were being neglected in the course of the forex disaster in 1997. Households could not genuinely assistance their mom and dad as before. So, the senior citizens became homeless and… considering the fact that they do not have a great deal skills, all they could do was come to be a prostitute,” she explained.
She explained the essential pension in South Korea – about two hundred,000 gained a thirty day period – as insufficient.
Some of the elderly are unwilling to load their small children with their economical difficulties. Some others were being remaining behind in the countryside though their small children moved to the towns to search for work and training.
Dr Lee explained: “Times are altering – in the past, it was ample to get by on a single person’s cash flow. Now even a dual cash flow is not ample. Children are not in the situation to choose care of their mom and dad. The elderly difficulty in South Korea is extremely shameful.
“Unless the younger adult’s troubles are solved, we can’t remedy the elderly’s troubles.”
Observe the Get Rea! documentary on South Korea’s elderly inadequate on Jan 31 at 8pm SG/HK.