SEOUL, South Korea — As about a dozen elderly men loiter in a small plaza near a cinema, mostly chatting or watching people pass by, several deeply wrinkled women stroll among them, trolling for customers willing to pay for sex in nearby motels. I can treat you really well,” a 76-year-old woman with a limp says as a reporter approaches her on a recent sunny afternoon.Despite a police crackdown this spring that resulted in 33 arrests, including an 84-year-old woman, the so-called “Bacchus ladies” can still be seen near the Piccadilly theater in Seoul’s Jongno neighborhood.Black Day (Korean: 블랙데이) is an unofficial holiday observed on April 14 each year. The day is associated with Valentine's Day and White Day as a holiday on the 14th day of the month.
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As a growing, ultra-competitive middle class has become preoccupied with getting ahead, many elderly and poor people have been left to fend for themselves.
Despite the country’s dramatic growth after the 1950-53 Korean War, many older women in South Korea’s male-dominated culture didn’t receive equal education and job opportunities in their youth.
Widowed, divorced or abandoned by their children, some now find themselves without a social safety net and so are forced to take up prostitution.
Some get paid to drink with older men and only occasionally have sex with them.
Black Day builds on the romantic aspect of Valentine's Day and White Day.