Updated : Jul.09.2005 02:44 KST

The Shame in 'KoreKorea'


There is a place where "Korea" is a noun associated with prostitution. Kiribati is a small Pacific island nation that barely has 100,000 people, and Korean fishermen are paying girls around the age of 18 for sex. The girls are called "KoreKorea." Some of them have had children with Korean fishermen. This is about sexual exploitation of young women and a lack of responsibility towards the children that are born, and it is also causing social problems such as the spread of aids and the collapse of moral rules in that society. That is shameful, shameful indeed.

It even looks like it could become an international problem. It was mentioned in a report on the commercial sexual exploitation of children submitted to the United Nations' Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) during its November meeting in Bangkok. In the current draft version of a UNICEF report on the sexual exploitation of children, Korea is listed as a nation that does not respect the human rights of children. Kiribati is not the only place it has happened. There are a considerable number of people born between Korean servicemen and civilians during the Vietnam War, and South American women and their mixed-race children abandoned by Korean fishermen in South American were recently discussed in the Korean media.

The situation cannot be left unattended to. The revised prostitution prevention law needs to apply overseas as well as domestically. The government needs to start by performing a survey of areas like Kiribati where behavior has become a problem. Most of all there has to be strict punishment for anyone who engages in prostitution with minors. There needs to be medical and educational support for the women and their children. There also needs to be better oversight of the ocean fishing industry, so that there is better welfare and supervision of boat crews.

The Hankyoreh, 9 July 2005.

[Translations by Seoul Selection (PMS)]



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