Cash offered to men who promise not to buy sex from prostitutes

(12/26/06 - SEOUL, South Korea) - South Korea has launched a campaign offering cash to men if they promise not to buy sex from prostitutes after year-end office parties, government officials said Tuesday.

The move is aimed at changing the party culture in this male-dominated society by winning commitments from male employees to abstain from hiring prostitutes after the parties finish, said an official at the Gender Equality and Family Ministry, who asked not to be identified because of policy.

A total of $5,000 will be paid to companies based on the largest number of volunteers who sign a written pledge, the official said. Some 1,300 companies so far have participated in the campaign.

South Korea has stepped up its crackdown on prostitution since 2004 when the legislature passed new anti-prostitution laws targeting human traffickers, pimps and prostitutes. The practice remains widespread, however.