Policies and Prevention Actions in Korea - WHRIK hosted Policy Conference on the Prevention of Prostitution in 2018: The Möbius strip of sexual entertainment, sexual violence, and prostitution
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  • WHRIK hosted Policy Conference on the Prevention of Prostitution in 2018: The Möbius strip of sexual entertainment, sexual violence, and prostitution
  • 조회 수: 492  / 등록일:  2018-06-12
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    On April 24, WHRIK hosted its first Policy Conference on the Prevention of Prostitution for 2018 at the International Conference Hall of the Seoul Global Center. The theme addressed the Möbius strip of sexual bribery, sexual violence, and prostitution and the conference featured presentations and discussions by five experts from different related fields. The conference was facilitated by Mi-rhea Jeong, the head of National Solidarity for the Resolution of Prostitution Issues.


    The Central Support Center for the Prevention of Sexual Trafficking of WHRIK presented the results of its media monitoring under the title ‘Reality of Gender Violence Hidden Under the Name of Sexual Entertainment.’ Yang-hee Jeong, the head of WHRIK’s policy team, described real-life cases of sexual entertainment from the past 20 years. According to this presentation, sexual entertainment as a form of commercial bribery was offered in a variety of places, including brothels, vacation homes, and offices, to a wide range of persons, such as public officials, parliamentarians, and legal professionals. The victims of sexual entertainment are widespread and include prostituted women, members of the entertainment industry, and students. She said that even where a case was proven to be sexual entertainment, the related individuals received only very light or no punishment at all and the statements of the victimized women were not credited by investigators. In conclusion, Jeong described the need to devise legal and institutional measures to punish the recipients and brokers of sexual entertainment.


    Mi-gyeong Gwon, a Director with Daumsoft, made a presentation entitled Sexual Entertainment, Sexual Violence, and Prostitution Viewed through Big Data Analysis. Gwon analyzed tweets posted between 2011 and 2018 in order to examine perceptions of sex crimes and prostitution. Based on the results, Gwon argued that the Nordic model should be pursued as an effective policy model to eradicate prostitution and protect women’s human rights.

    In his presentation Hierarchy in the Entertainment World Causes Sexual Violence, Senior Journalist in Popular Culture at the Herald Business Byeong-gi Seo applied a range of actual cases to demonstrate that the power of the ‘casting couch’ and the pervasive gender inequality in the entertainment industry increase the risk of sexual violence. Seo emphasized the need for awareness-raising among those in high positions in the industry.

    Wu Ju, Secretary at the Korea Broadcasting Actors Union, discussed the current status of entertainment practices in the culture and arts industry. Ju made a before-and-after comparison for the enactment of the Act on Programming of Broadcast Content Produced by External Producers. It showed how the demand for entertainment and the consequent risk of sexual violence have expanded with the enactment of the law as power previously concentrated among program directors spread to a wider range of figures, including producers, directors, scenario writers, and casting directors.

    Discussing the roles and responsibilities of the media regarding news reports on incidents of sexual entertainment and sexual violence, Eon-gyeong Kim, Secretary at the Citizens’ Coalition for Democratic Media, criticized sensationalism in the media and its focus on sexual aspects in the reporting on incidents of sexual violence. As an alternative, Kim suggested that reporters should shed light on the unequal power structures that provide the root cause of sexual violence, and faithfully follow the existing well-established guidelines on reporting incidents of sexual violence. 


    Dahye Chang, a Researcher at the Korean Institute of Criminology, offered a presentation on the provision of sex as a bribe and legal/institutional measures to prevent the practice. Chang argued that it is difficult to punish the recipient of sexual entertainment since the person does not receive or is not promised financial benefits. In regard to the Popular Culture and Arts Industry Development Act, she added that those who enter the industry are in a blind spot, which calls for measures to protect them. She further argued that it is necessary to consider as a form of violence the act of exploiting other people’s bodies and sexuality for physical, mental, or material benefits and/or for sexual satisfaction. Therefore, sexual entertainment and prostitution should be considered as a form of sexual violence based on power imbalances. Currently, since it provides monetarily convertible benefits, the act of supplying sexual entertainment through a brothel can be punished as bribery under the Criminal Act and the Act on the Aggravated Punishment, etc. of Specific Crimes.




    1. WHRIK’s own document

    2. The IlyoSeoul, Can prostituted women join #MeToo?, April 24, 2018.

    3. The Yonhap News Agency, Prostitution should be publicly discussed as on the continuum of sexual violence, April 24, 2018.

    Note: The article which is written in Korea is attached as a separate file in this posting (see attached)

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