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USFK comfort women

October 30th, 2008 . by Matt

This interesting article has appeared in the Joongang Daily.

PYEONGTAEK, Gyeonggi – At 69, Cheon Chang-suk lives alone in a tiny cell with moss-covered walls. She starts her day by collecting recyclable materials off the streets of her neighborhood, items she redeems for less than 1 cent per kilo at local stores.

In the eyes of the Korean government, Cheon is one of many underprivileged citizens who receive monthly welfare aid worth 380,000 won ($271), the minimum cost of living that people with no income get from the state.

But Cheon says the Korean government owes her more because her life was irrevocably turned upside down by the turbulence of modern Korean history.

During the chaotic and impoverished months following the cessation of hostilities of the Korean War (1950-1953), Cheon began working as a yangbuin, a term coined by locals for Korean bargirls and sex workers at major American camptowns, or gijichon in Korean.

Gijichon sprang up across Korea around 1945 when U.S. troops arrived here to begin their post-World War II occupation. The primary function of these brothels was to provide sexual services for U.S. soldiers in a controllable, confined area, a move seen to also protect local women from the American military men.

The camptown economy peaked in Korea during the 1960s when the country was in desperate need of foreign currency to rebuild its war-torn economy.

Camptown prostitution and related businesses on the Korean Peninsula contributed to nearly 25 percent of the Korean GNP, according to Katharine Moon, a professor of political science at Wellesley College, in a 2002 study.

According to Cheon, the Korean government supported the camptown brothels, hoping the industry would boost regional economies.

In fact, recent studies here by scholars and nongovernmental agencies have suggested that the Korean government helped build and maintain the brothels after the Korean War, supporting the claims of women like Cheon.

Note that the rationalization for these prostitutes is exactly the same one the Japanese had for the so-called “comfort women”.

Moving on to the last paragraphs –

People working on behalf of women like Cheon are looking for solutions with reference to the Korean sex workers forced to serve the Japanese military during World War II. Koreans registered as so-called comfort women receive a one-off government payment worth 43 million won and an 800,000 won monthly stipend. But the public doesn’t view women involved in camptown prostitution in the same way they see the comfort women because camptown sex workers went to work voluntarily.

Another issue that weakens Cheon’s case is that some of the camptown prostitutes were already working in local brothels, which does not bolster the argument that they were victims of the Korean War.

“It’s a subject that still requires more research, because the enemy or the historical context is not as clear as the comfort women,” says Lee Jeong-hee, a Democratic Labor Party lawmaker who is considering putting Cheon’s case into a bill.

“We need to see this issue beyond historical injustice and look at it from the broader perspective of sex trafficking and the individuals involved from the past to present.”

Actually, many of the comfort women were prostitutes as well. Most of the answered ads in the same way as the camp town women answered ads. Government doctors tested the women, just like the Japanese did. Women were registered, just like the Japanese did. The only difference is that the comfort women were camp followers, following the Japanese camps as they advanced and retreated throughout the war, while the American camps were stationary. The US congress opened a can of worms when they passed the comfort women resolution. Expect this to come back to haunt the US at some point.

Read the rest of the article yourself.

More occidentalism commentary on the comfort women.

Korea Registered “Comfort Women” for UN Soldiers

“Jamae”: Selling Oneself into Slavery

King Sejong Ordered Comfort Women for His Troops

Comfort woman gives contradictory testimony

More contradictory comfort woman testimony

Background of the 1993 apology to comfort women


18 Responses to “USFK comfort women”

  1. comment number 1 by: ponta.

    Thank you for the accurate picture of comfort women by Japan and Korea (and the U.S.)
    Japan apologized and offered compensations.
    It is Korea’s turn to face up to the history and offer apology and compensation to the women that Korea exploited in the way Japan did.

  2. comment number 2 by: Ken

    I have visited here after a long time because there was following post in a blog, EnjoyKorea.

    “https://www.occidentalism.org/?p=35
    (残念ながら、真実を語った元ネタのこのサイトは韓国のサイバーテロ集団であるVANKの攻撃にあって閉鎖された模様ですが、保存していた英文と写真は、ここに掲載します)”

    Please comfort the soul of US Army comfort women who comitted suicide as follows with above topic.

    http://www.enjoykorea.jp/tbbs/read.php?board_id=teconomy&nid=3915101&type=rank

    Talking of apology and compensation to comfrt women, Vietnam seems to require them to the rapes and fatherless childres by Korean army.
    (Following site is hard to connect by numbers of accesses.)
    http://www.enjoykorea.jp/tbbs/read.php?board_id=teconomy&nid=3919786&start_range=3917338&end_range=3921683

  3. comment number 3 by: MarkA

    Here’s another source that is somewhat biased, but still contains some truth.

  4. comment number 4 by: MarkA

    Sex Among Allies, although biased, is also a decent source that Congress should have consulted prior.

  5. comment number 5 by: Errol

    MarkA, now that Obama is POTUS will he abolish the USD 500 000 per annum Hooker Allowance for USFK personnel?

    ponta, a relevant quote for your observation is from Anton Chekhov, “Man will become better when you show him what he is like.”

  6. comment number 6 by: MarkA

    Errol,

    No…nothing will change. The North and South Coreans are already courting Obama to ensure that Korea remains in a state of perpetual division and US Dollars continue to flow in.

  7. comment number 7 by: GarlicBreath

    Its shocking the way Corean people whore themselves. I wish there was some way to keep Coreans from infecting other cultures.

  8. comment number 8 by: Errol

    It seems that many Korean prostitutes in Australia are not regarded as sex slaves by the High Court.

    An Australian Federal Police spokeswoman said last night that a High Court decision handed down in late August regarding a Melbourne brothel owner had redefined what constituted exploitation as opposed to “harsh working conditions”

    Check the link here.

  9. comment number 9 by: bad_moon_rising

    With all the talk concerning sex crimes in Korea, you would think Koreans would be making great strides in tackling sex crimes. That would be wrong.

    Age of Sexual Crime Victims Getting Lower

    By Bae Ji-sook
    Staff Reporter

    Victims from sexual crimes are getting younger, while the punishments for the offenders are still too light, the Ministry for Health, Welfare and Family Affairs said Monday.

    The average age of the victims in 2007 was 14, while those under 13 years of age was at 32.7 percent from a total of 1,839 cases. The portion is a more than 5 percentage point jump from 2002.

    The highest figure was for sex trade, at 41.9 percent. Groping and rape followed at 35 percent and 20.9 percent.

    The ministry found that most of the crimes were initiated in the online world ㅡ marking 91.3 percent. The offenders were mostly aged in their 20s and 30s, but those over 40 were showing a constant increase. The younger offenders were more likely to rape the victims, while the older ones bought sex from the victims.

    However, the punishments on these offenders were relatively weak. Only 26.9 percent were sentenced to imprisonment, while 42.1 percent were simply fined, and 30.5 percent got their sentences suspended.

    Calls are now growing for harsher punishment because sexual crimes tend to be repeated. More than 15 percent of convicted offenders had previous convictions in the same area.

    The family affairs ministry decided earlier this month to allow people to get information on child molesters at local police stations and punish those who “arrange” any sex trade.

  10. comment number 10 by: Errol

    It’s probably much worse than those figures show. Even in 2008, most “crimes” are not reported or a “cash settlement” makes it disappear.

    From the same journalist.

    Singer Freed from Rape Litigation

    12-21-2008 17:46

    By Bae Ji-sook
    Staff Reporter

    Pop-idol of the 1990s Lee Jae-won of H.O.T was arrested on rape charges but was released when the victim withdrew her suit in an out-of-court settlement.

    Lee expressed regret and said he would suspend performances indefinitely.

    The Seoul Eastern District Court last Friday issued an arrest warrant for Lee, who was accused of having sexual intercourse without consent with a would-be star at a Seoul motel on Dec.10. Lee alleged that the action was based on mutual understanding, but the woman claimed she was unconscious from alcohol consumption and unable to refuse. Korean law distinguishes forced sex acts from sex without consent.

    Lee was arrested but three hours later the woman changed her mind and made a settlement. The judge also agreed to release Lee around 11 p.m.

    Lee Sunday said he would make an official statement about what happened and about his future soon. The singer said he is sorry for letting people down via his Web site

    Lee was supposed to appear on cable TV show as a host Tuesday. He may not be able to release his new album next year.

    Lee debuted as the youngest member of H.O.T., which is said to have opened a new era of boy bands here. After the sensational group split in 2001, he remained in showbiz by forming another band, JTL, and going solo, seeking success in Japan and China.

    [email protected]

    http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/12/117_36465.html

  11. comment number 11 by: Errol

    According to this report 7% of secondary school girls are engaged in the sex trade.

    Female Students Vulnerable to Sex Trade on Internet

    11-17-2008 18:03

    By Kang Shin-who
    Staff Reporter

    One in every three female secondary school students in Busan were found to have received sex trade proposals while chatting online, according to a survey by the Ministry of Gender Equality Monday.

    The ministry questioned 2,012 female students in the southeastern port city and found 33.4 percent, or 672, answered they received prostitution offers.

    Among the female students who received the offers, only 35 percent said they ignored them. Nearly 20 percent said they were actually engaged in the sex trade, while the rest said they were “intrigued” by the offers.

    “It’s a survey of students in Busan and it could be difficult to generalize. But it’s obviously a case in point showing how serious online sex trading is,” a ministry official said.

    It also shows that many teenagers are vulnerable to the online sex trade, he said.

    Among those who sold sex, 37 percent said they did so on impulse, 25 percent did so for money, and the rest out of curiosity and other reasons.

    Asked about the reasons for the frequency of sex transactions online, 37 percent cited easy accessibility and 33 percent anonymity. The rest answered that they can sell sex with little worry of being caught by police.

    [email protected]

    http://koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2008/11/117_34547.html

  12. comment number 12 by: ponta.

    A happy new year
    kotoshi mo yorosiku onegaishimasu m(_ _)m

  13. comment number 13 by: ponta.

    Ex-Prostitutes Say South Korea and U.S. Enabled Sex Trade Near Bases

    http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/08/world/asia/08korea.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=korea&st=cse

  14. comment number 14 by: john k

    stop press!!!

    man barks like a dog….he must be a dog!!!

  15. comment number 15 by: bad_moon_rising

    Korean men and even women seem to have a habit of preying on weak, poor and desperate Korean girls. The NY Times article above mentions that the Korean government was in the prostitution business and viewed it as a “necessity.”

    Transcripts of parliamentary hearings also suggest that at least some South Korean leaders viewed prostitution as something of a necessity. In one exchange in 1960, two lawmakers urged the government to train a supply of prostitutes to meet what one called the “natural needs” of allied soldiers and prevent them from spending their dollars in Japan instead of South Korea. The deputy home minister at the time, Lee Sung-woo, replied that the government had made some improvements in the “supply of prostitutes” and the “recreational system” for American troops.

    Both Mr. Kim and Ms. Moon back the women’s assertions that the control of venereal disease was a driving factor for the two governments. They say the governments’ coordination became especially pronounced as Korean fears about an American pullout increased after President Richard M. Nixon announced plans in 1969 to reduce the number of American troops in South Korea.

    “The idea was to create an environment where the guests were treated well in the camp towns to discourage them from leaving,” Mr. Kim said in the television interview.

    Here’s an article from the JoongAng Daily. Defectors from North Face an Added Danger http://joongangdaily.joins.com/article/view.asp?aid=2899522

    The teenage girl who defected from North Korea trembled as she recounted her ordeal. Vulnerable and alone, she said she had been sexually abused by a person in whom she had little choice but to place her trust.

    The perpetrator she named was not someone from the North. Rather, it was the middleman who arranged her passage to the South.

    While the activist handed over the larger group of defectors to the South Korean diplomatic mission in the country, he kept the victim in his custody for 15 days and sexually abused her. He promised her that he would marry her, although he already had a wife.

    According to the South Korean government, the girl is not the only victim. Other adult female North Korean defectors already in the South have spoken about similar incidents, but they did not want to file petitions against the middleman.

    Now we know why there are so many South Korean “activists” trying to “free” North Koreans. The pay isn’t too bad either.

    The defectors pay up to 5 million won ($3,820) for their trips to the South.

    But what happens when a North Korean can’t pay? Let’s just say it’s only bad when you pimp out your fellow Korean to the Japanese.

    “Human trafficking is a serious issue,” she said, adding that female defectors in China are often forced to work as prostitutes in China.

    “The government should also do everything it can to rescue defectors who are captured by Myanmar’s rebel army,” Park said. Male defectors in the custody of rebel troops are enslaved for opium farming, while female defectors work in kitchens during the day and are sexually abused at night, Park said.

  16. comment number 16 by: MarkA

    Happy Endings blog.


  17. […] Hole, starting in 2005-6, and for good summaries of the colonial and postwar period I recommend this post at Occidentalism and especially this one written last week by Gord Sellar, who’s done […]


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