Thursday, August 17, 2006

Busted: 31 Korean Nationals Arrested for Human Trafficking for the Sex Trade

Picture taken from Scribblings of the Metropolitician's photo essay on sex work in South Korea

This is an interesting story that the mainstream news services aren’t really picking up on. I found some smaller news sources that had it. However, after searching the Associated Press and Reuters website I finally found the story. I was alerted to it when it scrolled past on CNN International's TV broadcast. However, this isn’t the first time that I’ve been unable to find the story on the CNN website. I suspect that the scrolling bit at the bottom of the screen is due to a newsfeed of some sort because I have tried searching on CNN before

This is the summary. 31 Korean nationals and two New York City police officers were arrested for the interstate trafficking of women, illegal aliens, for the purpose of prostitution.

Prosecutors said ring members gave South Korean women who wanted to work in the United States false immigration documents to enter the United States, or smuggled them into the country through Canada or Mexico.

By the time the women arrived in the United States they owed the traffickers tens of thousands of dollars, which they were forced to pay off by working as prostitutes.

"Human traffickers profit by turning dreams into nightmares. These women sought a better life in America and found instead forced prostitution and misery," U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia told a news conference in New York.

"This exploitation is not a back alley business -- it happens on Main Street in Stamford, Connecticut, it happens in residential areas of our nation's capital, it happens in the West 20s (streets) of New York City," he said. (full Reuters article here)

This is just crazy. In these situations, the brothel owners would take their identification so they couldn't leave even if they wanted. They and the families they left behind in South Korea were also threatened. I know this happens right under our noses. While some of us are truly ignorant others of us just turn a blind eye and others patronize these businesses. How could anyone sit back and allow this to happen? Officers that took an oath to protect actually were bribed and we all know this isn't something new. I hope that these women get to testify and then are able to come back home safe and sound. However, that remains to be seen. What a horrible thing to have to suffer through.

In South Korea prostitution is pretty much out in the open. Officially, yes, it's illegal. However, there are certain businesses, areas and districts for it. That’s where men go if they’re interested in that sort of activity. Here is a photo essay and article about Korean sex workers here in Korea from my friend at the Scribblings of the Metropolitician.

Now I’m probably going to get slammed for my view on this, but I think if prostitution were legal, regulated and taxed the temptation to hustle women like this wouldn’t be there. Or, even if the temptation were there, it just wouldn’t make sense financially to take the risk. I’ll admit maybe I’m naïve, but, then again, maybe I’m not.

More articles:

Feds Nab 31 Koreans and Two NYPD Cops for Human Trafficking

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