US has sex workers’ blood on its hands

Korea: More Prostitutes Commit Suicide Over Police Crackdown

By Kang Shin-who
Staff Reporter

11-02-2008 17:45

Two female prostitutes who lost their jobs following a crackdown in the red-light district of Jangan-dong in eastern Seoul took their own lives over the weekend, police said Sunday.

On Saturday evening, a 26 year-old female worker at a “massage parlor’’ in the area was found having hanged herself at her place of work in an apparent suicide. A day earlier, another woman, 36, an employee of a nearby brothel, hanged herself in her home.

Dongdaemun Police Station said the 26-year-old woman, only identified as Lee, left a suicide death note. Her brothel, operating as a massage parlor, had been closed at the height of the intensive crackdown.

In the note (written on a tissue box), she expressed frustration over the “hasty’’ crackdown.

When policemen were moving their bodies to a hospital, neighboring pimps and shop owners tried to block police officers, claiming they might try to conceal the suicide note. Police are investigating the cases.

Last August, a pimp identified by his surname, Choi, hanged himself in an underground parking lot, criticizing police for making his life difficult.

Pimps at massage parlors and shop owners are claiming that a series of suicides occurred following what they call precipitous crackdowns that forced them to fold their businesses and made it difficult for them to find new means of income.

Many of those involved in the sex industry in the region are scrambling to find new jobs and businesses for survival.

Police said they will continue to crack down on brothels regardless of the back-to-back suicides.

kswho@koreatimes.co.kr

This is a travesty! Up until 2004, prostitution was legal in Korea. Then the US placed Korea on its trafficking watchlist, which is a political and ideologically based way to muscle countries into criminalizing prostitution (one of the ways countries can get of the list). Korea began a tough crack-down on brothels and prostitution, leaving thousands jobless. And now dead.

I hope Farley is thrilled to hear about these tragic and unnecessary deaths. I hope the zealots are happy now, and getting what they want. I can’t tell you how sick this makes me.

Is this what they want???

4 Responses

  1. Are there any Korean sex worker organizations that you know of?

  2. How ironic is it that South Korea passes anti-prostitution legislation under pressure from the U.S. government, and now the U.S. government is complaining about all the sex trafficking from South Korea coming to this country without acknowledging how U.S imposed policies are promoting this. When you start arresting sex workers, it shouldn’t be too surprising that they’re going to try to flee, and some of them are coming over here and being persecuted all over again. I know that not all migrant workers in the sex industry are trafficking victims, but I wonder how many trafficked people in the sex industry are people who were trying to flee persecution because of prohibitionist policies against prostitution.

  3. In the times I have interacted with Farley her concerns tended to be far more about her having to endure the inconveniences of standard sheet thread counts, meals that she doesn’t feel are up to her pallet, the missing star on a 4 star hotel rather than 5 and making sure the video camera doesn’t run out of tape during her speech rather than someone elses. An activist such as herself that struggles walking by a window with a reflection without looking at herself in admiration has little time for the deaths of a couple of prostitutes in a foreign country. I’m not sure they are even relevant to her. Perhaps if she can add their deaths into one of her studies. Otherwise opposition to Proposition K has everything to do with loss of money and perhaps some of her employment. Better for many others to get arrested in the process of losing their employment in the farce that makes up much of the war on trafficking than for Farley to lose a couple of $1000+ speeches or suffering the indignity of having to stay in a standard size hotel room. Like the greedy CEO’s that cost 1000’s of jobs, all as fine as long as it’s the average person losing their jobs and livelihoods and not the elite. Imagine the suffering poor Farley would endure if she had to stay in the same size hotel room as the flight attendants serving her on the flight……..

  4. This is just…horrible doesn’t begin to describe it. I send my condolences to all those families. This should definitely be highlighted on December 17th!

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