The U.S. Consul General to Seoul says Korean prostitutes who stay illegally in the U.S. are a major psychological barrier to a visa waiver for Korean visitors there. Michael Kirby told reporters Thursday it does not help Korea¡¯s efforts for a visa waiver if Korean women are uncovered every time there is a prostitution bust in the U.S. Kirby said apart from decreasing the percentage of visa refusals, Korea must also cooperate in a system of joint law enforcement and ensure that Americans have a good impression of Koreans. It was the first time a U.S. Embassy official has tied Korean prostitutes to the visa waiver. This suggests Korea must deal with the problem even if it does manage to bring down its visa rejection rate to the required level of 3 percent. Kirby said on one occasion last year 100 Korean women were arrested on prostitution charges in a single day in Los Angeles and San Francisco. Korean women were also held in Connecticut, New York and Huston this year, he said, with Korean women forming a bigger part of the prostitution problem in the U.S, than those of any other nationality during the last one to two years. The consul said many of the women are smuggled into the U.S. via Canada or Mexico, and some of them enter the country on forged visas. Korean women pay between US$15,000 and 20,000 to traffickers and often see no option except prostitution to pay them off, he added. Korea and the U.S. discussed the issue when the Foreign Ministry¡¯s Director of Consular Affairs Bureau Lee Joon-gyu was in the U.S. recently.