29 Mar 2007

South Korea tightlipped over Kiribati sex cases

3:31 pm on 29 March 2007

South Korean embassy officials are continuing to refuse to answer questions over the issue of young girls in Kiribati selling themselves for sex to men off Korean fishing vessels.

The Kiribati's HIV/AIDS taskforce had asked for South Korean assistance to help with the problem which involved girls as young as 13 and 14.

Ambassador Boong-joo Kim, who is based in Fiji but is also accredited to Kiribati, told Radio New Zealand International several weeks ago, through a spokesperson, that the matter had been referred to headquarters in Seoul.

But, now officials are declining to talk about the matter and Ambassador Kim has also declined comment.

The chairman of Kiribati's HIV/AIDS taskforce says between 80 to 100 girls are active on the docks and a couple of them have fallen pregnant to Korean fishermen while others are at danger of contracting sexual diseases because the men generally don't like to use condoms.