Last 23rd of September, the Korean Women's Institute announced a survey conducted in regards to runaway girls and their conditions. As a result, 18.3% of them had experienced prostitution and the age they first experienced prostitution was on average 14.9 years old. In particular, the 14~16 age range of runaway girls had experienced prostitution the most. That is a shameful tragedy! Prostitution is illegal in Korea, and it is a part of an evil which should not be a part of our society. But how could it be possible for adolescents to be drawn into it? In Korea, prostitution is prevailed everywhere. The police are continually trying to crack down on prostitution, but it never ceases and continues to evoke people’s pain. What makes people fall into prostitution? And what are the reasons why sex workers can escape the restriction? Let's try and figure out this mess!
1. Falling into Prostitution
a. Money Lure
Most people who fall into prostitution are women, and they are not selling sex through their own will. Who would want to sell their bodies? Most women doing prostitution start their job in order to earn money for a living. Some of them become a sex worker in order to earn the living, and are soon tempted by large amounts of money and they finally fall into a hole which they can’t get out of anymore. 'Nam Eun-Ju', the representative of the Daegu Women Institute, said "Female adolescents are exploited in prostitution commonly because they are the most powerless and easy to be treated" and added, "Due to the wrong recognition of some adults regarding young girls as a sexual target, girls are exposed to prostitution". Finally, women in prostitution can be pushed into becoming sex slaves because of the money and also violence. In modern society, there are other obvious ways to make money except for selling sex. Still, prostitution has an even higher wage than other jobs. By these causes, they are not able to get out of the situation and prostitution still remains in our world.
b. Greedy People Who Have Sexual Desires and Affairs
The main purpose of going to a brothel is to have sex. To have sex, people buy sex with large sums of money. The surprising thing here is who they are. Of course, some of them can be single men, but in fact, most of them are married men. Even though they are married, they enjoy entertainment and cheat on other woman. For the pleasure of sex, they ruin their home and life. Prostitution is a law-breaking act bringing agony to society by having an unstable sexual opinion.
In the feminist journal named ‘Illda', it is stated that "According to a sex worker's interview, sex is not the priority for those providing entertainment." They surely have a sexual relationship, but they relieve their stress which is originates from society, through prostitution instead. They reduce their stress through the prostitute, doing something wrong that can’t be admitted around other people. As you see, those who come to have sex with prostitutes don't deal with prostitutes as humans. They are considered as a tool for satisfying their sexual desires.
2. Evil Effects
a. Broken Families
The act of buying and selling sex must not happen anymore. Though, sometimes there are women who become pregnant after having sexual intercourse without contraception. This might lead them to family complications, and some prostitutes even ask for money to the man's family, as ‘compensation’. These situations could be abused in various ways. It is a serious social problem when the person who is the breadwinner cannot play his role properly, because he has been indulging in illegal sex.
On the other hand, women who suffer damages via prostitution have been increasing recently. The incident where one man forced a woman who he met on a smart phone chatting application to go into prostitution was a hot issue. When the victim escaped, he called her mother and threatened that unless the mother brought back her daughter, he would kill her. After the incident was over, the police said that the victim was still suffering from psychological trauma. She had lived literally as a ‘sexual slave’ and had to protect her body from the man in the terrible situation. In concern with prostitution, many women get damaged by violence and be threatened like this.
b. Youths Get Influenced
The women who work as a prostitutes are not only adults. Even minors are working in prostitution now. There are some girls earning their living by selling sex in brothels, deceiving their age, and some intentionally go to brothels to make money. In particular, the 'living home group' is a pretty problematic spot as a prostitution agent. This 'living home group' is where youths who have left their homes, are living together like a family.. Some youths are continuing the jobs for living in here, as a result they couldn't get out of the place and keep prostitution inevitably. And even some adults have artificially formed the 'living home group' and use it as a prostitution agency. If these environments last, youths will commit other crimes and the vicious groups will continue to grow. They are damaged by the world where adults have made mistakes. The adults who help to turn young girls into prostitutes must be punished and we should try to prevent these things from continuing to happen.
c. Effects of SNS And Internet
Through Social Network Services and other online environments, we can see lewd and provocative advertisements for promoting prostitution. There are too many of these ads to have a limit to clamp down on. The problem is that adults will frown when they see the ads, however, young people might be stimulated more and accept a lot of information without any filtering. During the adolescence period, sexual curiosity doubles and is easy to be affected by such mediums. Above all, prostitution spread through the use of smart phones is increasing every day. For example, a smart-phone’s chatting application can be a gateway for women falling into prostitution and then prostitution ads are rampant on SNSs. Furthermore, prostitution agent sites encourage people to cheat on other people and to meet other strange people. Because of the online prostitution such as illegal portal sites and SNS, people are able to encounter prostitution easily whenever they access the Internet. This not only makes people have an erroneous sexual consciousness, but also walk down the wrong paths. Thus, all of the articles and advertisements related to prostitution should be eradicated from online space. And to prevent these phenomenon, effort made by the government and Korean citizens is necessary.
3. Prostitution, Harmful or Harmless?
a. Nominal Special Law on Prostitution
Most people think that prostitution is a social evil that has no merit all over the world. However, just as we have to cut off the decaying pieces of our bodies, we should also get rid of prostitution boldly too. By taking action, other problems would not happen anymore and a safe society would be established at the level of public security. Government has endeavored to crack down on prostitution and to root it out with police. However, there are many people who suffer due to prostitution. Therefore, more drastic and innovative alternatives were suggested, which were called 'The Special Law on Prostitution' legislated on 22nd March, 2004. This law stands for preventing prostitution itself, and supporting sex worker's protection and independence. The law was designed to make them upright members of society again and save people.
23rd September, 'Hanteo National Union', national sex worker groups, held a rally in front of Bosingak Pavilion, Seoul Jongro. They claimed limited legalization about prostitution under the opinions that the negative effect of prostitution is getting worse as 'the special law on prostitution' executed. In other words, this law makes brothel move to a secret place in order to make it hard to find and let little girls come in and out frequently. Some have the view that prostitution is a necessary evil. There must be a place for sexual minority and as it is a human instinct to having a sexual desire, many people cannot restrain their sexual desires. Also, there are some opinions that prostitution is not a social evil based on the fact that sexual crimes of Germany and Netherlands reduced comparatively, after they legalized prostitution.
b. Citizen, Have a Right Sexual Consciousness
If you think that there is no solution and that there is nothing that citizens can do, it would be an absolute misunderstanding. As prostitution originates from misconception of ’sexuality’, the proper education of sex can bring down the possibility of prostitution. And if schools and government educate students properly, students would know what is wrong and become a person who cherishes their body. Most of them spend their time wandering alone, not receiving parents' care. As a result, they go to the 'living home group' and then they are exposed to prostitution. Parent's warm love and public care will make them advance to become the right social member.
The prostitutes prevailing in the streets and even on Social Network Services produces misunderstandings that Korea is a country of prostitution because there are so many entertaining cultures in Korea, such as clubs and houses of prostitution. Of course, some people consider this culture to be a pleasure, but it should not be degraded to such a simple thing. It should not be regarded as a means. Controversy regarding prostitution is still hot in Korea. The important thing is that no one has to suffer and violate their human rights.
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