Korea’s dirty secret
This is in response to a Feb. 21 Korea Times article, “Border town brothels cohabit with military.”
Surely it is now time for the Korean government to take action to bring an end to the brothel complex at Yongjugol in Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
In the article, Lt. Col. Hwang Tae-ho, head of the military police at the 1st Infantry Division claims, “We don’t have authority to crack down on brothels.” Elsewhere in the article a chief police inspector describes the inability of the police to enforce the law.
Whilst nobody would doubt the reported difficulties involved in enforcing the law in this situation, for a country like South Korea to tolerate such a breathtaking and obvious flouting of the law right on the doorsteps of military establishments in the country is shameful and degrading.
Many people turn a blind eye to this situation because it is imagined that the women who work in the brothels do so by choice, however there is strong evidence to suggest that many of the women have been “trafficked,” beaten and financially compromised to ensure their availability.
The fact that the abuse of women in this way is excused in order to provide for the recreational habits of Korean soldiers is a black stain on the image and reputation of South Korea and an indication of its values and beliefs. Worse still is the fact that there is even a popular comic book called “Yongjugol” in Korea in which the abuse of women here is seen to be glamorized.
Surely it is time for the Korean government to put an end to these establishments and send a message to all its citizens that Korea values mothers, sisters and daughters too much to allow any of them to be mere toys for boys.
Professor in Seoul