122 women who suffered from sex trafficking within the American military camp town have raised their voices and filed a compensation suit against the country. On June 25 at the Seoul Women Plaza, Korean Women's Association United, Military Camp Town Women Rights Association, Seumtuh and National Compensation Defense Council of Military Camp Town Comfort Women held a press conference and demanded the country "take legal responsibility of the military prostitution issue and offer an apology and compensation to the victims."
"Korea's military prostitution did not exist only within the Japanese army camps. Our nation has established the 'US Army prostitution' institution and has thoroughly maintained it," the victims claimed. "The 'Japanese, UN and Korean Army comfort women's issues are all alike in that they demanded sacrifice from women as a service to the country"
"The outright ban on sex trafficking and the establishment of a ‘special district’ have allowed the US Army to enjoy our services. We were even trained under a mental educational program called 'Patriotism Education,'" they said. "Impoverished after the war or sold through human trafficking, we resided at the military camp town, forced through all sorts of abuses to serve the American soldiers."
"The country has coerced physical examination upon us, claiming that we must be 'clean' to serve the American army. It also established a concentration camp to imprison the comfort women and forced on us treatments and monthly 'mental education,'" an elderly woman who has filed suit said, shedding tears of anguish.
Jin Kim, head of the national compensation charge counsel against military prostitution, directed the blame at the nation's illegal act.
"After the Korean War, the Korean government formed military camp towns for policy goals such as security. These towns skirted the law banning prostitution by establishing 'special districts' and reaped enormous benefits from it," he said.
According to the records of documents approved by former President Park Cheonghee’s signature, submitted as an inquiry data last September by a member of the opposition party, 62 military camp towns and 9935 comfort women for the American forces existed at that time. The plaintiff’s counsel plans to submit a petition to the Seoul Central District Court, arguing that each person should be awarded KRW 10 million.
On the one hand, Sankei News of Japan has noted, "The issue of comfort women for the US forces has been raised at the National Assembly but failed to receive the attention as much as the Japanese military’s forced prostitution has. According to the inquiry put forth by a member of the opposition party, former President Park complimented these women as ‘dollar-earning patriots.’ This was a remark that violated their human rights."
1296호 [Society] (2014-07-02)