Go to contents

Receiving Sexual Entertainment May Bring Disgrace

Posted September. 13, 2004 22:06,   


According to the new law, anyone who sets foot into an unlicensed prostitute quarters will have a series of disgraces brought upon them.

Cho Jin-kyung, the head of the “Together Again Center,” a support center for victims of sex trafficking, said, “As long as our society’s tendency of having a lenient attitude towards men who are buying sex exists, sex trafficking will not be eradicated,” and urged for a change in the understanding for sex trafficking along with a strict regulation upon men who buy sex.

With help from Prosecutor Bae Sung-bum of the Ministry of Justice, who is in charge of enacting this legislative bill, and Police Superintendent Lee Geum-hyung, the chief of the Department of Woman and Youth Protection in the Regional Police Headquarters, who will conduct this law in the lead, we inquired as to how this law will affect men who buy sex.

Does Sex Trafficking Call for Unconditional Penalty?—

The new law also sentences men who buy sex to “be imprisoned for less than one year or receive detention with a three million won fine,” similar to the existing Suppression of Prostitution Act.

But the truth is that, in the past, men who were caught buying sex were mostly freed after paying a small monetary penalty.

However, from now on, men who are caught buying sex will not only suffer actual punishment such as imprisonment, but will also be subjected to protective measures such as public service, probation, and off-limits in certain areas.

Of course, if the conducting of sex trafficking is not revealed, then a penalty will not be given. However, whatever the reason, if the accompanying woman reports a sex trafficking act to the police, then the man will be penalized without exception.

Why Are only Men Punished?—

Each country has its own different punishment measures for people who buy sex. For example, Taiwan punishes the woman who sells sex, but Sweden punishes the man who buys it.

The new law that will be carried out prescribes women who sell sex as “victims who need protection,” but on the other hand, accuses men based on the social agreement that men who purchase it amounts to an assaulter. Looking at the other side of this, there lies a major premise that asks, “What kind of a woman would sell their body with her own will?”

Therefore since it isn’t considered that women would have participated in sex trafficking voluntarily, that is why the punishment is applicable only to men.

The Drinking and Reception Culture Makes it Inevitable…—

This is only an excuse. After the office of National Tax Administration introduced a real-name system for receptions, these events taking place in establishments that does not only serve alcohol but other forms of “entertainment” are decreasing. This is evidence that the corruptive reception culture that leads to sex trafficking is changing. If someone must insist that a reception involving sex trafficking is inevitable, instead of healthy ways such as providing admission tickets for public performances, then they should prepare to deal with “a heavy blow.”

What about Private Sex Trafficking through Cellular Phones or Internet?—

A unit for devising a countermeasure for online sex trafficking will be organized and will be under crackdown.

It is commonly known that online sex trafficking is realized one-to-one, but it has been exposed recently that pimps are arbitrating the trafficking through the Internet.

Using the Internet because it costs less and because one can be guaranteed anonymity is a mistake; the Internet is much easier to crack down because back-tracking the IP address is available.

Have the Limits for Sex Trafficking Broadened?—

There may be a controversy whether the “action” conducted in lewd barbershops is to be considered as sex trafficking or not. However, we will take the matter flexibly by actually applying the law to practice.

Jin-Kyeong Kim kjk9@donga.com