This news is straight out of “The Wolf of Wall Street!” According to The Korean Observer, a report from the National Tax Service revealed that the annual spending of Korean corporate credit cards at sexual entertainment establishments exceeded more than $1 billion in 2013. That’s an amount that would make Jordan Belfort proud.
In a 2013 report released Monday by Rep. Park Myung-Jae of the Saenuri Party, businesses spent $733.1 million at “room salons,” $206.9 million at karaoke bars with hostesses, and $100 million at yojeong, which are high-class brothels where the prostitutes dress in traditional Korean hanbok. You can see the details of each of these types of places on this reddit thread.
According to KoreAm, the popularity of sexual entertainment is not new. 1 in 5 South Koreans in their 20s reportedly buys sex regularly, at least four times a month.
Why doesn’t the government get more involved, you ask? Rumors have it that the industry is simply too lucrative. As much as 4 percent of South Korea’s GDP is from the sex trade. In 2009, the government got so desperate to improve their failing economy that they took out a regulation that required companies to explain their entertainment expenses if it exceeded $500,000.