Korea - Where Human Desire (Prostitution) Seems Stronger Than Stringent Law

We are surprised at the survival power of the sex industry. It was shocking to hear that a host of massage parlors employing prostitutes are thriving in downtown Seoul even though a strong anti-prostitution law is in force. The law is so strong as to put brothel owners in prison for up to 10 years with a maximum fine of 100 million won. But some of the massage parlors earn about 10 billion won ($10.3 million) a year.

According to police who recently cracked down on the brothels, people who frequented such places included lawyers, professors and other leading figures of society. This shows the shameful reality of our sex morals. It was three years ago when a stringent anti-prostitution law was passed to crush the sex trade once and for all. However, the recent clampdown indicates the widening gap between reality and the law.

The move by government to restrain human desire by stringent law has proved ineffective. The law was able to remove the red light areas from people's sight. But prostitution prospered in massage parlors, sports massage centers and other places. The brothels that used to exist in certain regions have infiltrated residential and office areas.

Many lawmakers were skeptical about the effectiveness of the law when it was first put forward. But none of them were able to oppose it for fear of being branded supporters of prostitution. The Ministry of Gender Equality and some women's organizations were in the forefront for the legislation and there was no place for male politicians to oppose their fundamentalist approach to the affair. Their intention to do away with sex trade was right. But relying on a stringent law was naive.

It must be pointed out that the law has made it more difficult to resolve the matter. The brothels used to be confined to certain areas, but the law has made them go underground. Outwardly, they are nowhere, but actually they are everywhere. Outbreaks of venereal disease are said to be increasing. Another outstanding matter is that even the women selling sex do not support the law.

Those who used to work in red light districts are supported by the government in their attempts to abandon prostitution and become self-reliant according to the law. But in reality, most of the prostitutes have returned to their original work. The government's move to eradicate prostitution through passing a law has ended in failure. The government should work out measures to check prostitution's rampant growth before it is too late.

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