Wednesday, October 12, 2005

 

Flesh trade

Slave trade, prostitutes, pimps, and brothels. The sex business is one of the key industries.

Sex slaves
* How women are lured into South Korea's flesh trade
* How top U.S. commanders turn a blind eye even as troops are the racket's best customers


By William H. McMichael Times staff writer August 12, 2002

All of the women quoted in this story are real. They asked that their real names not be used because of embarrassment and fear of retaliation from bar owners and police. Many of the service members quoted also asked that their full names not be used for similar reasons - embarrassment and fear of retaliation from others in the military.

SONGTAN, Republic of Korea - Lana came to South Korea for the money. Back home in the Kyrgyz Republic, where she toiled in a shoe factory for $20 a month, she longed to buy an apartment, but the $5,000 price tag seemed impossibly high.
Then she saw a newspaper ad seeking women to dance and talk with U.S. servicemen in nightclubs in South Korea. The ad promised what for her was an astounding wage - $2,000 in the first six months. Lana, a bright, attractive blond, took the job.
Now, she wishes she hadn't.
The nine months she has worked in clubs that dot the half-mile strip running straight away from the front gate of the U.S. Air Force's Osan Air Base have left her with eyes far too world-weary for a 24-year-old.
Stripped of her passport by her bar owner, in fear of corrupt South Korean police and deeply in debt to her new bosses, she was forced to sell sex to American servicemen.
She became, in essence, a sex slave.
In South Korea, there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of Lanas, trafficked women who work in clubs, many of which cater, often exclusively, to American troops.

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