New attitude urged on paid dating
Police have been unco-operative in helping to connect young girls who had been caught offering 'compensated dating' - a form of prostitution - with social service agencies, a welfare group said yesterday.
The criticism came as the group, the Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service, found that most of a group of 57 youngsters involved in paid dating came from broken families.
The group has been tracking the young people for the past four years. The group under study comprised 48 girls and 9 boys, with 70 per cent under the age of 17. They had participated in paid dates with and without sex.
Social workers called for more co-operation from the police as well as input from the government.
'The West Kowloon Crime Unit, which handles most such cases, has never referred any to us,' said Tom Tse Kei-leung, the social worker with Yang Memorial who is also in charge of a project called Concern Action in Relieving Enjo-kosai Youth. Enjokosai is the Japanese word for 'compensated dating'.
In response, the police said that referrals to either relevant government departments or non-governmental welfare groups were only possible with the involved parties' consent.
However, a spokesman said it was police policy to seek help for such youngsters from qualified social agencies whenever possible.
The new Yang Memorial study found that the participating young people came mostly from broken families. Only eight of them lived with their parents. Twenty-two had divorced parents and 18 had parents who were separated, or had stepparents. Five had a parent cohabiting with a partner.
A report from the group said a feeling of isolation within the family was common to most participants, making the youngsters believe their parents to be uncaring or cold.
Some of the participants also questioned the moral values of their parents because they had witnessed them having extramarital affairs. According to the report, some even engaged in compensated dating as a form of revenge on their parents.
The report also said that the young study participants had learned to covet money from witnessing their parents' obsession with the stock market.
The study found that all male participants were homosexuals serving male clients, and that some lesbians were also involved in the trade.
The report concluded that the psychological dilemma of having sex with someone without being attracted to them caused the participants serious stress that called for a great deal of care and counselling.
Social welfare constituency legislator Peter Cheung Kwok-che said the government should set up focus teams - involving doctors, social workers, laboratories and caregiving homes - to handle the problem in a holistic way, as the current system was too fragmented, relying on different departments to respond under different circumstances.
The age of the youngest of a group of 57 who have been involved in compensated dating and were part of a study by social workers