A dangerous lifestyle

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 28 February, 2012, 12:00am


Most young people in a survey on 'compensated' or paid dating came from broken families.

The Yang Memorial Methodist Social Service study found only eight of its 57 teenage participants lived with their parents.

Twenty-two had parents who were divorced and 18 had parents who were separated, or had step-parents. Five had a parent living with a partner.

The Concern Action in Relieving Enjo-kosai Youth project has been tracking a group of 57 teenagers - 48 girls and nine boys - involved in paid dating for the past four years. More than 70 per cent are students, under the age of 17. More often than not, the dates involve sex. Enjo-kosai is the Japanese word for compensated dating.

Tom Tse Kei-leung, a social worker who led the project, said those from broken families often felt isolated, and thought their parents were uncaring. He said many youngsters on compensated dating were not aware of the dangers of their behaviour, such as contracting sexually transmitted diseases or being threatened by a client.

They also reported serious stress from having sex with someone without being attracted to them.

Chan Hiu-wing, a social worker with the project, said the demand for paid dating was still huge.

'In the most extreme cases, teenagers had three compensated dates in a day and some 20 times in three months,' Chan said.