The US Comfort Women of South Korea

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The Huffington Post has recently run several news articles on comfort women. A hot topic these days, it’s at the core of a particularly heated argument between Japan and South Korea. China, too, has been demanding additional action from the Japanese government.

Interestingly, coverage on the topic includes not only the World War II comfort women, but the US comfort women of South Korea, coerced (and sometimes forced) into providing sexual services for the American military stationed in Korea both during and following the Korean War, which ran from 1950 to 1953, and saw the division of the country into North Korea and South Korea.

Most notably, these Korean comfort women have filed a million-won (the currency of South Korea) lawsuit against their own government- who, they claim, forced them into the sexual slavery.

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Prostitutes for the US military in South Korea’s demilitarized zone are commonly known as Yankee Princesses or Western Princesses; they are stationed in brothels in and around American military Camp Towns, or Kijichon. There are more details on the topic on Wikipedia, which also states that:

“According to the claim, they were supervised by the U.S. forces and the South Korean government and South Korean authorities colluded with pimps in blocking them from leaving. The suit comes as an distraction for the South Korean government which has been claiming Japan hasn’t fully compensated women forced to serve as sex slaves for the imperial Japanese military.

Haunting the Korean Diaspora: Shame, Secrecy, and the Forgotten War, a research of prostitutes by Grace M. Cho who was the daughter of a G.I. and a South Korean woman, was awarded the best 2010 book on Asia and Asian America by the American Sociological Association.”

However, it is only very recently that Korean women have been speaking out against being forced into the prostitution for the military.

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