Singapore - Increasing numbers of young girls in Singapore are offering sex for sale on Internet chatrooms, shrugging the transaction off without any remorse or fear of AIDS.
Although the situation here is less dire than in Japan, counsellors and social workers cite cases of girls as young as 13 having no qualms over paid sex to obtain pocket money.
They blame the nonchalant attitude on neglectful parents, the lack of stigma on losing one's virginity, the pervasive message of one-night stands on television and advertisements that encourage instant gratification, according to The Sunday Times.
Internet chatrooms make it easy for girls to befriend teenage boys or men, said counsellor Ong Lea Teng of the Singapore Planned Parenthood Association.
"The thinking of some girls is that since they are doing it, they might as well get something out of it," she was quoted as saying.
Often they want to buy things their parents cannot afford: mobile phones, the latest fashions or recreational gadgets, she said.
"With so much material temptations around them and so much desire for instant gratification, sex for money is inevitable," Deline Koh, a senior social worker at a family service center, told the newspaper.
There are no figures available on the trend, but Ong said hotline calls from girls asking if it is all right to have sex for money have quadrupled in the last two years.
Koh cited the exploits of a 15-year-old girl who used chatrooms to settle her boyfriend's debts by having paid sex with three men.
A court was told last week that a 14-year-old girl who needed money to pay bills had sex with at least five men. They were convicted of having sex with a girl younger than 16.
Counsellors urge parents to start building bonds when their children are in primary school instead of waiting until their teens.
"It's very tough to get into their world by the time they reach 13 or 14," said Want Toy Leng, manager of a girl's home.