Japanese Prisoners of War Interrogation on Prostitution Jun 18, 2014 14:43:01 GMT
Post by Admin on Jun 18, 2014 14:43:01 GMT
The South Korean government’s Ministry for Gender Equality estimates that about 500,000 women work in the national sex industry, though, according to the Korean Feminist Association, the actual number may exceed 1 million. If that estimate is closer to the truth, it would mean that 1 out of every 25 women in the country is selling her body for sex -- despite the passage of tough anti-sex-trafficking legislation in recent years. (For women between the ages of 15 and 29, up to one-fifth have worked in the sex industry at one time or another, according to estimates.)
Indeed, the sex industry (in the face of laws criminalizing and stigmatizing it) is so open that prostitutes periodically stage public protests to express their anger over anti-prostitution laws. Bizarrely, like Tibetan monks protesting China’s brutal rule of their homeland, some Korean prostitutes even set themselves on fire to promote their cause.
Al-Jazeera reported that some 200,000 South Korean youths run away from home annually, with many of them descending into the sex trade, according to a report by Seoul’s municipal government. A separate survey suggested that half of female runaways become prostitutes. All these statistics fly in the face of South Korea’s stellar image as a society that consistently produces brilliant, hard-working, motivated students and technocrats. However, it is precisely that academic pressure (along with other family issues) that drives many of these teens onto the streets.
Face-painted South Korean prostitutes wearing traditional dresses wait to participate in a rally against the enacted anti-prostitution law in front of the Chuncheon City Hall in Chuncheon, South Korea, Tuesday, May 31, 2011. Hundreds of prostitutes gathered to denounce the anti-prostitution law that they say threatens their livelihoods.
The U.S. State Department, in the 2008 “Trafficking in Persons Report,” also blamed South Korean tourists for significantly driving the demand for underage sex in Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The document indicated that large numbers of South Korean girls and women have been trafficked to Japan, the U.S. and as far away as Western Europe. On the flip side, many women from poorer Asian countries, particularly the Philippines, flock to South Korea to work as prostitutes and "bar girls" (lured by the promises of legitimate work as waitresses or entertainers). For the record, the U.S. government prohibits American servicemen from patronizing bars and other establishments in South Korea served by prostitutes.
As an illustration of how widespread prostitution is in South Korea, consider that in January 2012 police raided a nine-story brothel in the upscale Gangnam neighborhood in Seoul and discovered no less than 100 prostitutes working there, ostensibly as "hostesses," who charged at least $300 for sex. This complex generated more than $200,000 every day, according to local media reports. In late 2006, the South Korean government took an unusual step to stamp out prostitution -- the Ministry for Gender Equality offered a cash incentive to companies whose male employees refrained from buying sex at office parties and business trips, an ingrained part of Korean corporate culture.
The prevalence of prostitution in contemporary South Korea provides an ironic counterpoint to the passionate political activism of elderly Korean women who relentlessly criticize Japan for forcing them into servitude as prostitutes and "comfort women" during Tokyo’s brutal occupation of their country. Prostitution has a long history in South Korea, going back to the medieval period, when the “kisaeng,” female entertainers, were officially sanctioned by the ruling elite to perform all kinds of services, including sex. Prostitution as a way of life continued in one form or another over the centuries, including during Japan’s occupation of Korea in the first half of the 20th century. After World War II and the Korean War, the United States changed the face of prostitution.