Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Globe Special: South Korean Whorehouse

Think of this as a Father's Day present:

"Suit tests South Korean prostitution law; Judges nearing decision after 2 years of review" by Choe Sang-Hun New York Times   June 20, 2015

SEOUL — Kim Jeong-mi, a 43-year-old prostitute in Seoul, says she knows about humiliation.

She usually charges customers 20,000 to 30,000 won, or about $18 to $27 — roughly a third of what her younger competition gets. When desperate, she has gone as low as 10,000 won. She has felt people sneering.

But what happened in July 2012 was too much to accept, she says. Three uniformed male police officers raided her room while she was with a customer. During such raids, the police typically collect a used condom or other evidence from a bedside trash can.

But that night, she says, the officers made her get dressed for questioning while they watched and took photographs, “giving me no time to keep the least dignity as a human.”

So she pushed back.

She challenged the 500,000 won fine from the police. With the help of an advocacy group, she also filed a lawsuit asking the Constitutional Court of Korea to strike down a law that, besides criminalizing prostitution, calls on the state to root it out. 

Sorry for the premature ejaculation (where I stopped reading it this morning as I sighed heavily and flipped the page) and complete lack of interest in this story (no disrespect intended). I suppose if I were the elite of Bo$ton and the wider region I might enjoy the flag$hip more.

In April, after two years of deliberation, largely through consulting documents, the court held a public hearing, which lawyers said indicated that the nine justices were nearing a decision. The case follows the decision in February to decriminalize adultery, a landmark ruling that analysts said reflected changing social attitudes toward sex.

“I want what I do to be recognized as a job, a legitimate way of making a living,” Kim said recently. “This is better than stealing for a living, isn’t it?”

South Korea has always outlawed prostitution, stipulating fines or a prison sentence of up to a year for prostitutes and their customers and harsher penalties for pimps and brothel owners. Still, it tended to look the other way as red-light districts prospered.

That changed after 14 young prostitutes, trapped in their rooms, died during a fire in 2002. Amid public outrage, the government began a more aggressive campaign against the sex trade, and an overhauled statute took effect in 2004. It called not merely for preventing prostitution, but for eradicating it.

Police crackdowns have since become more frequent. The number of red-light districts in the country fell to 44 in 2013, from 69 in 2002, according to government figures, and the number of women working in those districts fell to 5,100 from 9,100. In 2013, the police investigated more than 8,600 cases of prostitution. 

I don't know what the answer is to the world's oldest profession. You have the practical realities of legalizing it, but that comes with the resulting decline in morality that undermines a society and nation. 

The government has cited these figures as evidence that the new law is working. But prostitutes and other critics of the law say those numbers failed to account for the many women selling sex at bars, on social networking services, and through smartphone dating apps. 

I can't take anymore self-serving government lies that are to be found everywhere. 

These represent a more shadowy side of the sex industry that those critics contend is expanding because of the crackdowns on red-light districts and leaves the women involved more vulnerable to abusive customers, pimps, and others.

Yeah, that's a touchy subject.

“These are women struggling to make a living despite a social stigma. Should we drive them to death by branding them again as criminals?” asked Park Kyung-shin, a professor of law at Korea University in Seoul. He was referring to the November death of a 24-year-old single mother who jumped out of a sixth-floor motel room to escape a police raid.

I'm reading along with you.

But Choi Tae-won, a Justice Ministry lawyer, defended the statute as the last bulwark against “anarchistic depravity.” “If this law is gone, it will rapidly accelerate the perception of sex as a commodity,” he said.

I'm awash in it over here, so.... I mean, from ma$$ media advertising and beyond, this place is rampant with commoditized sex. Part of the reason I'm so disgusted and unenthusiastic about their product these days. The clothes seem to literally have come off regarding the perverse depravity and inane absurdities as the norm.

The South Korean government says it operates 10 rehabilitation centers for prostitutes, providing them with 600,000 to 900,000 won in monthly stipends. Last year, the program helped 226 women return to school and 640 find new jobs, the government says.

But Kim does not trust the government and vows to continue as a prostitute for as long as she can. She notes that a police station overlooks one entrance to her red-light zone, and that officers patrol but never close it.

“They come and selectively catch a few unfortunate women at a time and collect fines like taxes,” Kim said. “The state is no different than a pimp.”

Well, you can question here moral character if you want but you can't call her stupid. She $ees very clearly.


RelatedKorean War POW’s remains return home to Exeter, N.H.

He was somebody's father.

"South Korean automakers, originally seen as laggards in quality, are quickly closing the gap with their competitors, a major study shows. In the annual initial-quality study released this week by the market research firm J.D. Power, Kia ranked second and Hyundai came in fourth. When all Japanese brands were combined they fell below the average industry score, 112, for the first time. “The astonishing thing is the improvement rate of the Koreans,” said Renee Stephens, vice president for US automotive quality at J.D. Power. “It’s a clear shift in the quality landscape.”