Elderly hikers are the latest target for prostitutes in South Korea, according to a new report from MBN. Older women are seeking out men who frequent mountain hiking trails and offering them a euphemistic “cup of coffee”, leading to the nickname “coffee ladies”. While hiking has long been associated with adultery between hiking couples, Koreans were taken aback and pitied the older women for trying to make money through prostitution. Online comment focused on the lack of a social safety net for senior citizens in poverty.
Article from MBN:
‘Coffee ladies’ go to the mountains..a new wave of prostitution
Now, a similar phenomenon is appearing on mountain trails, as ‘Coffee Ladies’ sell coffee to hikers and solicit them for prostitution.
Kim Keun Hee reports on location at one of the hiking spots frequented by such women.
This is Gwanaksan, a busy location for hiking in the middle of Seoul.
One woman in her sixties wearing a red hat mingles with the crowd of hikers and looks around carefully.
A few minutes later, the woman meets a man and they disappear together.
A hiker described the situation: “What’s that? They just ‘enjoy’ each other for a little while and then leave. They have a drink and leave. How old are the women? must be 60 or 70.”
The women, who have earned the nickname ‘coffee ladies’, typically look for older hikers who have come to the mountain alone. They offer the men a cup of coffee and then suggest prostitution.
In this way, prostitution is being carried out in the open, with little attempt to disguise what is going on.
Audio from an interaction between one of the women and an older man:
Woman: “How about we go somewhere and have a glass of beer or something. Just have a good time talking together over a drink. Maybe go to a motel.”
Man: “And do what there?”
Woman: “What do you expect me to say. We could touch each other.”
Sex, sold for ₩20-30,000.
Another hiker described what was going on: “They have a drink and then go off to sleep somewhere. They see the hikers and assume that they must be pretty well off and so think they can make some money…”
It seems that most of the women are senior citizens who have been hit hard by the economic downturn and have turned to this line of work in order to make a living.
“What with all of the young women coming over from China to work these days, the restaurants don’t hire older women.”
The local government and the police sometimes crackdown in the area but there is no serious effort to eliminate prostitution.
As illegal prostitution for older hikers continues to grow, the mountains are turning into prime locations for solicitation and voices of concern have emerged.
Comments from Chosun Ilbo:
A woman in her sixties who is selling coffee and soliciting men for prostitution won’t be able to find a job working at some company. Prostitution for them is a last resort, a way to survive. Arresting and punishing them won’t make society any better. These are symptoms of a larger problem that should be solved with expanded welfare supports for senior citizens.
Catch gangsters and spies. Leave these people alone. It is a necessary evil in this world.
What a pitiful life, to survive by selling your body…In their teens, they just start to find out what they are capable of!…twenties, they start working at room salons, karaoke bars, or after hours massage parlors!…thirties they head to work as helpers in noraebang…forties to fifties, they work at ticket tea rooms in the countryside or inns…then in their fifties and sixties it’s work as a coffee lady!…it’s basic supply and demand.
let them ‘enjoy’ and leave them alone! You might as well try to stop them by castration!
just leave them alone…
It looks like nothing is sacred anymore. As time goes on and the elderly population increases, there will have to be a policy to deal with it. Rather than just increasing welfare benefits, we need a plan to create jobs for these people.
Well, it’s good that people are still active in the twilight of their years, does the government really have to interfere with this. Call the Minister of Gender Equality and Families.
Damn! the world is crazy these days~
What do you mean, ‘crackdown’? Give them something to live on~! a crackdown on prostitution?? how about the high class room salons or massage parlors? are you kidding? stop with this double standard
If they make ₩20,000 each time, two times means they can buy a sack of barley. It is amazing to see how some people still work so hard to pay off their family’s debt, even as they become older. The old women of Korea, who worked so hard to help our nation recover throughout history, are still trying to earn money. You have the utmost respect of your country.