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People's Daily Online>>Opinion

Money culture pulls well-off teens into sex trade

By Barry Cunningham (Global Times)

16:43, November 21, 2011

The stereotype of a Chinese street hooker is a young girl in stiletto heels whispering steamy propositions to male passers-by in hopes of getting money to feed her impoverished family back home in a rural village.

But the Chinese public's forgiving attitude toward this "victimless crime" may become less so after the newest twist in the world's oldest profession.

Parents are sick with worry after a ring of underage prostitutes from middle-class Shanghai families were arrested on charges that they sold sex for "pocket money."

None of these girls was from a poor family, exploited by pimps, or forced into "compensation dating," as the Japanese call it.

The girls are said to attend good schools and grew up in respectable neighborhoods.

Underage prostitution is a problem in every society, including the US, where some law enforcement sources estimate there are more than 100,000 child prostitutes trading their bodies for money outside sleazy bars and inside trendy shopping malls.

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