Here’s a skeevy trend for you. In Hong Kong, teenage girls are going on “compensated dates” after school. Basically, they go out with older men in exchange for money, but they don’t see this as prostitution, because in their minds they’re in control of whether or not sex is involved … even though sex is usually involved. These girls are using the money to buy fancy-schmancy designer goods, which are increasingly a big deal in Asia. Total side note: When I studied in Tokyo, my Japanese friend told me that she wanted the brands that Americans like Britney Spears wore. When I tried to explain that teenage girls can’t often afford the same things as celebrities, she looked legitimately confused.
A 19-year-old who calls herself Sze shared her story with CNN, hoping that it might deter other girls from compensated dating. “My first customer was an ordinary man in his 40s. We skipped the dinner part and went straight to the guest house for sex,” she said. “Actually, I was a bit scared, but I knew this was the only way I could get money. This customer wasn’t bad, though. We just had sex, he paid, and then he left. I thought this was easy money.”
Sze continued this for about a year and a half, because all her classmates were doing it. Her friends showed her how to meet men on internet chat forums, and she made about $350 per date. It wasn’t until a social worker intervened and helped her realize that there were less risky ways to make money that Sze got a real job. Oh, and having a pregnancy scare and a few sketchy clients also encouraged her to throw in the towel. A good thing, since last year, a 16-year-old girl was killed, dismembered, and flushed down the toilet after she went to a 24-year-old man’s apartment for their “date.”
Prostitution is illegal in Hong Kong, but because compensated dating goes down online, in private, and is usually consensual, it’s hard to regulate and charge those involved. Social workers are encouraging parents to watch out for signs that their teens are doing this. Seriously, if you’re a parent and your kid walks in with a Louis Vuitton purse, you’ve got to know that she didn’t earn it working nights at the movie theater. And for goodness sake, girls, you don’t need a Gucci purse to be cool! [CNN]