U.S. military anti-prostitution/sex trafficking policy appears to be ineffective

Discipline, honor, and patriotism. These are the reasons, for some people to join U.S. military services. However, for most people, when they think of the U.S. service members abroad, these are not the words that they associate the service members with.  Rather, the U.S. service members are notorious for violence, alcoholism, low education, and prostitution in places where they are stationed. And, such notoriety of U.S. soldiers are well evidenced by the prostitution and sex trafficking place around the U.S. military base abroad.

Sex trafficking around U.S. military bases in South Korea

Recently, the Philippines government banned work permits for women seeking to work for bars in South Korea. [1] Aggravated by the nonstop sex trafficking incidents involving Filipino women around the U.S. Military base in South Korea, the  Philippine  government decided to stop sending their women to the sex industry abroad. For the past decade or so, Filipino women are hired to serve U.S. military service members and flirt with them to lure them into buying expensive drinks to meet the daily quota required by their employers. When the women fail to meet the daily quota, they are required to sell their bodies to the U.S soldiers to make up the difference. [2] The element of sex trafficking enters when these women are lured into coming to South Korea with the belief that they will be singing and dancing at the clubs and bars as entertainers. However, it is only after their arrival to the clubs and bars that they realize that their works involve prostitution in times.

U.S. Military policy on prostitution and sex trafficking

in 2004, Pentagon drafted anti-prostitution policy specifically aiming at reducing sex trafficking around the U.S military base stationed abroad. Under the policy, the U.S. service members could face court martial for patronizing prostitutes. [3] However, sex trafficking and prostitution in South Korea have been rampant even after the draft of anti-prostitution policy. Though the U.S. military just began to put off-limits on clubs and bars which are involved in prostitution or human trafficking in South Korea, only four out of 25 clubs and bars retain off-limits status by the U.S. military base. One report on prostitution and sex trafficking around U.S. military base in Korea reveals more disappointing result. While South Korea vigorously cracks down on prostitution, the areas surrounding the U.S. military base are exempted from the crackdown by the Korean government. Therefore, prostitution and sex trafficking thrives because of the U.S. military service members in South Korea, according to the report [4]

Awareness raising along with harsh penalty are the keys

Doing a massagy is almost a rite of passage for male sailors… sex trade is more permissible here [Japan] than at home and easily available… It’s not like the U.S.

A U.S. service member stationed in Japan in 2006. [5]

Thriving demand for prostitution and sex trafficking by the U.S. military service members questions the enforceability of the U.S. military anti-prostitution/sex trafficking policy. Though the policy has been implemented to deter sex trafficking and prostitution around the military base abroad, the news reports consistently say that they are still very much in existence.  Though the policy caused many service members from revealing their identities when interviewed about their visits to prostitutes, it did not stop them from going back to prostitutes again for sex.  The problem then lies on lack of awareness among the U.S. soldiers. Visit to brothels or prostitutes have been so widely accepted that the service members consider it almost as a rite. Further that the U.S. military, in fact, encouraged prostitution business around the military bases also contribute to their desensitization to prostitution. [6] While the penalty against human trafficking and prostitution must be doubled, the military should ensure to educate the service members on such misconducts  as serious crimes.

source: http://www.examiner.com/x-24740-Norfolk-Human-Rights-Examiner~y2010m2d8-US-military-personals-creates-demand-for-sex-trafficking-in-South-Korea

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  1. […] coming down like the proverbial ton of bricks on the poor schmuck so discovered.  This of course makes “trafficking” fanatics furious, especially the “rescue industry”, which has become a major problem in east Asia.  And while […]


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