Great news indeed! Since the US banned all soldiers from going to "juicy bars" (aka sex trafficking hotbeds) in Korea, these hostess bars have been losing money. PTL! They're losing so much money, these pimps and traffickers are actually "protesting" this ban. Gotta love it. We're making progress to end slavery in Korea!
Here is the article link.
Article published on June 22,2013:
Protests over U.S. base’s ban on 15 hostess barsOwners complain about probe methods.
A week ago, about 150 members of an association of owners of foreign tourist facilities and businesses in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi, gathered in front of the U.S. Osan K-55 Air Base and staged a protest.
They claim that their livelihoods have been threatened.
The U.S. military has designated some of their businesses, all of them hostess bars, as off-limit areas to their soldiers, causing them huge losses as most of their revenue is derived from the nearby soldiers.
They held signs reading “Stop the ban!” and “Don’t threaten our livelihood!” Some shaved their heads as a symbol of protest.
According to the association, on June 13, the K-55 camp designated 15 of 50 hostess bars, including seven on the Rodeo Street of Sinjang-dong, Pyeongtaek, as off-limits for offering illegal prostitution.
They also said that the U.S. military called the owners into the camp for investigation, questioning them in an interrogation room without legal representatives.
Under the SOFA (Status of Forces Agreement) regulations, at least one Korean police officer must be present when the U.S. military questions Koreans or the investigation must be carried out through Korean police.
They claimed that this is a clear SOFA violation and that their human rights have been abused by the U.S. military.
But the K-55 camp officers told a different story to the Korea JoongAng Daily yesterday.
Park Young-hee, a spokesman for the K-55 camp, said they first ran an internal investigation into soldiers who were suspected of paying for sex in the region. They then found these 15 bars were offering prostitution to those soldiers.
“We found that some of the bars abused their hostesses, who are mostly from the Philippines,” said Park. “We heard that the owners have taken the hostesses’ passports and don’t pay wages on time. We can’t say whether it is true or not, but we just limited the access to those places because we didn’t want our soldiers to step into places that look like they have problems.”
Regarding the illegal investigation issue, Park said, “The owners wanted to speak with us first. They said that it isn’t fair to designate their places as off-limit areas without listening to their opinions. So we requested that they come to the camp and they responded to the call. It isn’t true that we summoned them compulsorily.”
In the past few days, the business owners have claimed that they had to comply with the U.S. military’s call for the investigation as their businesses heavily rely on the soldiers.
As the rally continued for about a week and the investigation process became a hot issue, Patrick McKenzie, the commander of the 51st Fighter Wing at the Osan K-55 Air Base, stated that they will consider revising the process for the off-limit measure when he meets Kim Sun-ki, mayor of the Pyeongtaek city government, on Tuesday.
At the meeting, McKenzie pledged that they will make sure that they will run questioning sessions with at least one official from the city government and one from the local police and all sessions will be held in a place outside the camp.
But McKenzie said the ban in the area will continue temporarily to secure the safety of soldiers because those merchants are still staging a rally every day.
BY KWON SANG-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Friday September 6, 2013, I was able to attend a government seminar that discussed human trafficking of foreigners into Korea. The biggest issue was the E-6 entertainment visa that is offered usually to women in Southeast Asia who come to Korea with dreams of becoming a celebrity. Unfortunately, most of them never get to sing, act, or dance. Instead, they are forced into the sex industry and deceived into thinking that they have to pay off a debt bondage for all their "fees" for getting into Korea. And the #1 trafficked group into South Korea at the moment are women from the Philippines who end up working in the "juicy bars" located outside the US military bases throughout Korea.
As I was sitting in this meeting, my heart was not at peace. I heard talks by many lawyers and government workers, even in the Ministry of Justice. And I was able to talk with various people in the government who were working on this trafficking issue, but I was so sad in the end. I prayed and realized that there was such a strong spirit of apathy for many of these government workers who for them, this literally is just a job and assignment given to them by their boss that they had to do. I was reminded also of the deep corruption and deception that is also a stronghold in the law enforcement and judicial levels of power in Korea. One government worker gave these bogus stats on how there has been in increase over the years in trafficker who have been put into jail, seeking to highlight how much good has been done concerning this issue in Korea. Another man shared how the problem with the E-6 visa is that Korea needs to have stronger interviews so that these women can do "singing tryouts" during the interview so they can discern their level of talent (this comment was such a joke people didn't know whether to laugh at him or stone him). Not surprisingly, he left the meeting well before it ended.
I brought 2 copies of my book Justice Awakening in Korean, praying for "champions" of this cause to give it to. And I think I found one. His name is Kim, Choon Jin and he is a member of the National Assembly. He shared briefly about his heart for vulnerable and abused women and children. He also shared how he gained a concern for this issue from visiting Cambodia. I felt led to approach him and give him my book and as I did, I sensed a heart connection with him as we talked briefly and shook hands. I knew I was supposed to give him a book. He received the book with joy and I continued to pray for him throughout the day. I am praying that God would use him and others to begin fighting for these many women who are in sexual slavery in Korea. I was reminded this day that the battle is hard and it will be long. But it is a battle that must be fought.
Join us this Lent season to bring forth a fast that will bring freedom to the captives!
Nefarious: Merchant of Souls will be shown during the Seoul Christian Film Festival on Monday October 3rd at 2pm. It is a public holiday in Korea. This is a great opportunity to help raise awareness on the issue of sex trafficking and also show the power of the Gospel to bring true healing and freedom for those involved. Please bring as many people as you can and help bring an end to this great injustice of our day. Your invitation could be a catalyst to someone's transformation.
When: 2:00pm, Monday, October 3rd, 2011
Where: Seoul Cinema (서울극장). Jongro 3-Ga Station (Lines 1 & 3), Exit 14 then turn right.
Ticketing: KRW 5,000. Available on the day at the SCFF-exclusive ticket box. Discounts available for group purchases of 10-29 people at KRW 4,000 per person, or 30+ people at KRW 3,000 per person (call 02-743-2536 to book).
"However, I consider my life worth nothing to me if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me - the task of testifying to the Gospel of God's grace."
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