Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Modern-day "Comfort Women"

North Korean Women in the "Sex-Slave Trade"

From Choson Ilbo online article:

"A 25-year-old daughter of a North Korean family, whose father had died of hunger and whose mother is blind was sold as a concubine for a Chinese man across the Duman or Tumen River to repay 50 percent of a debt worth 300 kg of grain. The price of the grain is just W46,000 (US$1=W947), which is less than the price of a dog in South Korea."

It is a terrible world we live in where a woman can be sold for the price of a dog. The sex trade isn't just a North Korean problem or even an Asian problem. Countries like Russia, Eastern European (really good story) countries like the Czech Republic to countries in Africa all suffer from this awful disease.
(Story)Apparently, Choson Ilbo actually caught some sad, desperate and hungry North Korean women on tape as they were taken across the Chinese/North Korean border by their, well, "buyers". This footage was used in a documentry called "on the border" about the thriving sex trade involving North Korean women raging now in China. The documentary was aired first in South Korea and Japan this past weekend and then again at the Woodrow Wilson Centre 10March(?).

When talking about Korean sexual slavery the first thing that may come to mind are the so called "comfort-women" who were coerced, tricked and in many cases kidnapped from their home country (or "
countries" since we know that comfort women were not only Korean) and shipped abroad to service Japanese soldiers during world war II, 60 years ago. However,the Korean sex trade is truly alive and well in China today. North Korean defectors, according to this article, are stuck with no way out because they are defectors and are therefore by their very presence violating the law; and even though they are in utter misery they find it better than being sent back to North Korea.
Choson Ilbo:

"In the North, where strong remnants of the feudal society have created pervasive discrimination against women, women who are captured defecting or deported by China are forced to learn in police custody that they are not human beings through a regime of verbal abuse. This is the uniform testimony of people who experienced such punishment."

Such "Punishing of the victim" was also seen after the return of the comfort women once they returned home to Korea after the close of world war II. At that time young women were shamed into keeping their mouths shut and in many cases could never find husbands and, generally, shunned by society.
Making some real effort to curb this sexual slavery may be too much to ask of Kim Jung- il who, himself, has what he calls the "Joy brigade" which are his group of 2000+(age ranges between 18-25 but maybe even as young 13) women used to provide "joy" to high ranking officials within the Workers Party. Perhaps NGO's can put pressure on China to do what it can to stop this horrible, most inhumane treatment of women.

Oh, by the way, today 11March 2008, The Central News Agency of DPRK (The most fair and balanced news agency on the planet) reported on a rally on 5March held by Women and Human Rights group in Seoul which, once again, urged Japan to make an official apology and reparation for sexual atrocities committed against Korean "Comfort Women".
I think from now on the government needs to encourage the Central News Agency to table such stories featuring any mention of "comfort women" until they get control of their own "comfort women" problem.

Here is a very good documentary on North Korean immigrants in China Sex-trafficking mentioned around 11.30. But try to watch this in its entirety

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