While it's no shock to learn that Korean men visit prostitutes in very high numbers, it might come as a surprise that they are actually the biggest sex tourists in Southeast Asia. The Korean Institute of Criminology concluded that Korean tourists outnumber all other nationalities in terms of the frequency of their visits to prostitutes.
The institute looked at field surveys in Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and the Philippines which included interviews with local social workers and neighbors, arrest records at local police stations and a tally of tourists who frequent bars linked to prostitution. The numbers clearly indicate that Korean men frequent these establishments more than Japanese, Chinese and even Thai tourists.
The U.S. State Department's annual report on human trafficking also confirms that Korean men are the main client for child prostitutes in Southeast Asia and Pacific islands. There is speculation as to why Korean men engage in this type of crime more than others. Some point to a lack of guilt while others assert that due to the large amount of Korean business opportunities in Southeast Asia, wealthier Korean men are far more common in the region and that is what is skewing the numbers.
In South Korea, the laws of the nation follow the citizen no matter where they are in the world. There have been numerous cases of Koreans being arrested in South Korea for using illegal drugs oversees, so it is perplexing as to why the country has not taken a single step to curb the rise in sex tourism and the engagement in child prostitution.