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Behind the Headlines: APA News Blog

Academic Version: Applying my personal experiences and academic research as a professor of Sociology and Asian American Studies to provide a more complete understanding of political, economic, and cultural issues and current events related to American race relations, and Asia/Asian America in particular.

Plain English: Trying to put my Ph.D. to good use.

July 28, 2005

Written by C.N.

Prostitution and the Korean American Community

Interesting article from the New California Media about recent events surrounding a sex trafficking bust in California, in which about a 100 women from Korea were working as prostitutes, many of them forced into it after being deceived with promises of legal jobs in the U.S. The article focuses on how the Korean American community is reacting to it and how they feel that since these activities reflect badly on them, they need to do more to stop such illegal activities in their community:

Hong Ik Kim, executive director of the Bay Area Korean American Community Center, said that the recent arrests were “very shameful for the Korean community.” He said these kinds of scandals ruin the image of Korean Americans in the United States. “So we need to be especially vigilant about halting these kinds of practices within our communities.” . . . He insisted that in order to eradicate the problem, Koreans should report to the authorities whenever they become aware of such establishments in their communities. . .

Despite these strong reactions, there is a prevailing attitude of acceptance of prostitution among Koreans. Though offically illegal, prostitution thrives in major Korean cities like Seoul and Pusan. . . . Sun Jung Cho, a San Francisco psychologist working with victims of domestic violence, said the Korean community needs to explore the origins of prostitution and trafficking in their country. She believes there is a lack of dialogue within the Korean community regarding the sex trade and issues of gender inequality.

It’s an interesting situation. On the one hand, I think that it’s commendable that the Korean American community is increasingly concerned about how these illegal activities affect their image in the U.S. and that they need to be more proactive in trying to stop them. At the same time, the point that Korean society still does not value the worth or equality of a woman and that this pervasive mentality contributes to the exploitation of women is also very well taken.

Like a good sociologist would point out, the problem has both more immediate and direct causes, along with more indirect, structural causes as well.


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Copyright © 2001- by C.N. Le. Some rights reserved. Creative Commons License

Suggested reference: Le, C.N. . "Prostitution and the Korean American Community" Asian-Nation: The Landscape of Asian America. <http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/2005/07/prostitution-and-the-korean-american-community/> ().

Short URL: http://www.asian-nation.org/headlines/?p=113