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(Jul 09, 2014) On June 25, 2014, 122 women sued the Korean government, claiming that they were forced to engage in sexual intercourse for money for members of the United States military who were stationed in Korea after the Korean War cease-fire in 1957. (Toru Higashioka, Former "Comfort Women" Serving U.S. Military File Damages Lawsuit, ASAHI SHINBUN (June 28, 2014).)
The involvement of the Korean government in the prostitution around U.S. military bases only slowly became public knowledge. (KATHARINE H.S. MOON, SEX AMONG ALLIES (1997); Sang-hun Choe, Ex-Prostitutes Say South Korea and U.S. Enabled Sex Trade Near Bases, NY TIMES (Jan. 7, 2009).) In 2012, the Gender Equality and Family Committee of the National Assembly asked the Ministry of Gender Equality & Family to investigate the issue and establish a policy. However, the Ministry did not send the result of the investigation to the Committee. Because the government did not do anything to further the investigation, the plaintiffs and their support groups decided to file the lawsuit. ("Camp Town Women Control" Disclosure of Document Signed by Park Chung-hee [in Korean], HANKYOREH (Nov. 6, 2013).)
Some evidence of the government's involvement was found recently. In 2013, National Assembly member Sung-hui Yu submitted to the Committee a document, "Camp Town Clean-up Measures," that was created by the administrative affairs department of the President's Office in April 1957 and signed by the former President, Park Chung-hee, on May 2, 1957. The document stated that 9,935 women lived in 62 camp towns (villages around U.S. military bases). The document proposed measures to work toward:
- eradication of sexually transmitted diseases;
- improvement of conditions in the villages;
- provision of clean water; and
- other steps. (Id.)
|Author:||Sayuri Umeda More by this author|
|Topic:||Crimes against women More on this topic|
|Human trafficking More on this topic|
|Jurisdiction:||South Korea More about this jurisdiction|
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Last updated: 07/09/2014