written by gkim
Many people and government officials argue that legalizing prostitution will solve the existing problems within the sex industry. They believe that a woman should have the right to sell her body if she wishes to do so. It’s the oldest profession in the world, and they’re legally consenting adults, they say. We can’t ever get rid of it, so might as well legalize it and provide condoms and safety for the workers. These people say they would rather have the government in control of the situation rather than the pimps, and that this gives the women more control and power.Furthermore, many girls who actually work in the industry fear they will lose their “only” source of income, so they take a very strong stance against any type of anti-prostitution activity or enforcement. Their reasoning is simply this: We are two consenting adults exchanging sex for money. We are not harming any other people in the process as long as we are practicing safe sex. This is a very skewed perception of what the sex industry and prostitution actually are. Here are seven reasons why:
I. Women who enter willingly into the sex industry do not really aspire or desire to be prostitutes. There is not one woman who is dreaming of this as her chosen profession and goal in life, fully aware of the consequences. It is usually an escape from poverty, violence, destitution, OR a lack of options in her eyes–the only way she thinks she can earn a living or maintain a type of financial stability or certain life that she desires. The woman enters thinking she will be somewhat in control. Some younger women may even verbalize that they love what they do. These typically younger women (who are not forced into the industry) try to justify their choices with a variety of different reasons such as I love sex, I’m not hurting anyone. This is my choice. Selling my body or having sex on camera is empowering. It turns me on. I love what I do. This has been my dream. I want to do this forever. These are merely public announcements. These are not the true revelations of a woman’s heart. Many of these women who enter willingly and say these things, do not enter the industry knowing the serious ramifications of what will happen to her. It is difficult to say that a woman would seek a lifestyle of selling sex for money if she knew that there was a 100% chance she would lose complete power over her life and be subjugated to humiliation, shame, rape, physical and mental abuse, torture, threats, corruption, sexually transmitted diseases, guilt, depression, or drug addictions. Almost 99% of women who have been rescued from the sex industry and women who have left on their own will have reiterated that they have been suppressed to one or more of these consequences. These thoughts will surely occur to her, but she enters thinking this will not happen to her or that she will be able to avoid it. She will quickly find out that she is trapped once she enters– trapped by the pimp, trafficker, or brothel owner. When people believe that prostitutes have chosen this life because they want to do it or because they were just born as whores, they are being deceived. All of these women are God’s precious daughters. The world may turn their backs on them, but God does not. It is up to us to help them see that they are loved.
2. Just because she is free to come and go physically, it does not mean anything, and we must remember that many are truly held from physical escape. The strongest hold on a prostitute is the mental entrapment that will dominate her life. Traffickers, pimps, and brothel owners will stop at nothing to turn a profit. One of the most common misconceptions that people have of prostitutes is that they can walk away at any time, yet they are choosing to stay in it. We must remember that almost 75% of girls who get into the industry do so as minors. Although the example I am about to give is not one of a voluntary prostitute, this is a perfect example of how one human being can influence and intimidate a young girl. Elizabeth Smart, a victim of abduction and sex slavery, was approached by police just a few months into her abduction.
She had the chance to speak up and reveal her identity, yet she was terrified that her abductors would kill her and then go after her family. She believed this with all of her heart, so she stayed quiet, and the police officer departed without suspecting anything. This type of mental control is carried out every second of the day by traffickers and pimps who view girls as their commodities. As I have said in another blog entry, don’t be fooled by smiling prostitutes. Giving a woman the right to sell her body is not giving them any type of right or freedom at all. In fact, it is the opposite of doing so.
3. Legalizing prostitution is accepting and allowing women and children of all ages to choose this as a legitimate profession. If we legalize prostitution, we are telling our sons and daughters that they can turn to prostitution as a career option when they become adults. In places like Isaan, Thailand, many children as young as five years old imagine themselves as prostitutes when they are older because it’s what they grow up seeing, and it appears to be an acceptable way to earn a living. If we do not want our own daughters to become prostitutes or become victims of trafficking, we certainly must NOT succumb to the ridiculous notion that legalizing it is better than prohibiting it. We are throwing our hands up in the air if we do this. We must strive for God’s justice to reign throughout the world no matter how difficult the fight may be or how long it may take.
4. Legalizing prostitution is not giving the government more power to oversee and protect the women. This expands the sex industry so much that it gets harder for the government to retrieve statistics and differentiate between minors and adults. Child trafficking sees an influx. It makes it acceptable for government workers to pay for sex, and it gives legal power to the pimp, trafficker, or brothel owner to become legitimate businessmen and entrepreneurs. It becomes harder for the government to provide assistance because a type of desensitization to the plight of these women occurs. Once it is legalized, new corruptions within the structure of the government evolves as they are essentially becoming the pimps. The society becomes more misogynistic. Right becomes indistinguishable from wrong. Devious and sexual acts become acceptable, and the women who are selling their bodies become subjugated to these types of acts. Additionally, there are already so many governments in the world that participate in sex tourism and sex entertainment. Corruption in such governments will increase and will not be deemed as corruption. In places like Thailand and Korea where the existing laws against prostitution aren’t enforced properly, women are forced to entertain men by engaging in deviance such as tricks with their genital muscles. Sex tourism booms in these countries, and more and more tourists who are exposed become accustomed to them and perceive them as entertainment. Imagine these types of acts becoming completely legal and protected by the law. Boundaries will become blurred and obsolete. Women will be exposed to more and more atrocity and promiscuity which will affect society as a whole.
5. Prostitution is a mask for human trafficking. The two are essentially one. If prostitution is legalized, the mask becomes thicker, and it will be able to morph into a number of different faces. Stats from countries with legalized or regulated prostitution such as Germany, Colombia, or the Netherlands have shown that human trafficking, especially of minors, has increased dramatically. The reason why prostitution can be identifiable with human trafficking is that most prostitutes who enter willingly or fight for the right to sell their bodies are so influenced, controlled, and overpowered by their pimps that they cannot leave the industry when they want to. Whether it is through mental control and brainwashing or through physical violence, these prostitutes are enslaved and kept in bondage. Most people associate bondage with a mental image of a person in chains somewhere in a dark room. This is of course the case with many, but in many cases, this is not the only type of bondage and enslavement. Many women believe that they are selling their bodies when in fact they are selling parts of their souls. They think they’re in control when they are not. Many enter voluntarily or are tricked into working and the majority cannot leave and live the lives they want to. Everything inside a human that is vital to leading a decent life in society diminishes and eventually becomes obsolete. Those who are rescued or escape from it will be internally affected for the rest of their lives. Most never come out in public, choosing to keep their stories hidden, sometimes even from their own families and husbands. Traffickers would love legalization as they would be able to hide the girls they traffick much easier. Do we really want to hand them more batons?
6. The aftermath of prostitution is horrendous. People who have sold their bodies for money become traumatized forever. Many end up committing suicide, addicted to drugs or alcohol, depressed, suffering from anxiety, and coping with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder). Ex-prostitutes have expressed that pieces of their souls were sold along with their bodies. The majority who do make it out of the industry have difficulties assimilating back into society because they are ridden with intense shame or stigmatized as whores. The amount of rehabilitation and health recovery is monstrous.
7. Countries that have legalized prostitution see an overall decrease in humanity, spirituality, honor, and respect in their societies. At the same time, the oppression and objectification of women as sexual objects and the permissiveness of men buying women for sex increases ten-fold. If prostitution is legalized, it becomes a business that can be marketed. The marketing would be directed not only towards men who were already interested in paying for sex but to men who would never even consider paying for sex. We condone this type of behavior if we legalize it. This leads to a decline and neglect in sanctity, values, and gender equality.
Prostitution is not something that should be regulated or legalized ever.
Love Neighbors Mission is an extraordinary church and justice ministry founded and led by Pastor Sun Choi in South Korea. They strive to love our neighbors as God wishes for us to do so. Their mission is to convey the love of Jesus Christ to souls who have been neglected and ignored by society–particularly those who work in the red light districts in Seoul, Daegu, and Busan. Pastor Choi started this ministry in March of 2010 in Cheongryangri Yunrakga, one of the most infamous and frequented red light districts in Asia.
God had spoken to Pastor Choi and revealed His undying love for the prostituting sisters who worked in this area. Thus Pastor Choi obeyed the calling from God and started going on-site to Cheongryangri Yunrakga to conduct on-site snack and gift delivery. He and his wife wrapped each snack and gift carefully with letters of scripture–all to give these precious girls messages of hope and love. Rain, snow, sleet, or shine–Pastor Choi went to the red light districts weekly, and these relationships that seemed so impossible to build in the beginning, began to form.
On August 22, 2011, Pastor Choi was blessed with an office space adjacent to the red light district, and he opened it to the working girls as a shelter and haven from the dark sex industry. In 2013, Love Neighbors Mission expanded their ministry to the some of the darkest red light districts to exist in Korea–in an area of Daegu. With wrapped gifts and scriptures in hand, Pastor Choi has never missed a day of outreach or spreading the gospel to the sisters of these alleys. Take a look at this sign on the left. It states that children are restricted from this red light district alley–in the Korean language. How ironic is it that there is an official, governmental warning sign when prostitution is illegal in the first place?
These sisters have expressed that it is like being in hell because there is no escape out of the red light district. Although some of these women may physically leave, they are imprisoned from doing so because of their emotional, spiritual, and mental bondage. There are grandmothers who live in the red light districts as well. These senior citizens say they pray for a way to leave, a change, new hope, a life outside of this world, but they feel there is no way after decades of being in this industry. Many of these women express that they would like a church to go to where they will feel no shame and only acceptance. Pastor Choi goes behind these glass windows and gives them a time of worship where they are selling their bodies. Why does he do this? He is most concerned for their salvation. Without salvation, they will not be able to return to a normal life or function in society with the rest of the world after enduring what they have. It took a very long time and a lot of immense effort for Pastor Choi to open up these girls’ hearts to what he was trying to convey. Some of them were even able to leave thanks to his tireless and tremendous efforts. There is a special sister who works with him now to get other girls out.
At first, the pimps were very suspicious and distrustful of Pastor Choi, but as time went by, God’s love broke barriers through Pastor Choi’s dedication. The pimps started to make coffee for him when he came by on his weekly gift offerings. He would accept the coffee so that he may have the chance to pray for them. He realized that the pimps and traffickers were undeniably victims as well, victims of evil and corruption.
“It takes a very long time and lots of patience to build relationships and trust with the sisters,” Pastor Choi said. However he is grateful and thankful that he is able to do God’s work and help even one sister get out of the industry after an entire year of outreach and efforts. This is how devoted he is to these sisters, how devoted he is to serving the Lord, and how much he desperately seeks for them to know that God views them as His precious daughters. Many people view these girls as despicable and undeserving. However we must all remember that the people God loves the most are the ones who are neglected the most–the victimized, the abused, the poor, the sick, the homeless, the injured, the trafficked, the widowed, and the orphaned.
“learn to do good;
bring justice to the fatherless,
plead the widow’s cause.” Isaiah 1:17
The Korean perception of the Korean sex industry is quite different from others. The most common statements and inquiries I seem to get from fellow Koreans are, “Well, what about the girls who enter the sex industry voluntarily when they’re adults? What about the women who do it to buy luxurious things? They say they love what they do. It’s their own choice. Should I feel sorry for them when they want to work in that industry?” To the modern day abolitionist who has done extensive research into the sex industry and trafficking, these responses could sound very typical. Unfortunately, in the Korean society, especially the Korean American society, these are valid perceptions that people will probably form. Why?
First of all, the bottom line is that whether entered voluntarily or forced into the sex industry, all of these human beings are victims because they are victimized in one way or another, even if some may be unaware of the victimization. Secondly, of course there are many problems to the types of statements above that mostly Koreans seem to make and believe in because not all of the girls who get into the industry voluntarily love what they do. In fact, almost every single sex worker in the industry, who has been rescued or has had the opportunity to leave on their own, has expressed or endured immense regret, shamefulness, embarrassment, stigmatization, depressive disorders, suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, mental and emotional pain, anger, resentment, self-hatred, and rejection from society. Even the prostitutes who fight for the right to sell their bodies, the most famous porn stars in the world, and the strippers who fight for the right to strip down naked all have public personas, where they say they love men, sex, and money. In reality, when they are alone, they have confessed that it is just a public persona that they must portray at all times in order to continue earning a living and keeping their guards up.
On the other hand, these skewed Korean perceptions that the sex industry workers love what they do could be seen as valid to a certain extent. The reason is because there are so many young Korean girls, who come from good families, getting into the industry willingly in Korean communities. We see them driving in super luxurious cars and living in fancy high-rise apartments, carrying and wearing expensive, fashionable items, buying whatever they want, living a normal life during the day and carrying on a secretive life in the sex industry at night. Do I believe that some of these women ruin it for the rest of the sex slaves? Yes, of course. But we cannot separate these two types of sex workers and simply label one group as greedy, sex addicts and the other as forced sex slaves. All of these women are victims of the pitfalls of the sex industry. And many who enter voluntarily end up realizing they cannot leave voluntarily when they wish to. This is not only in the physical sense. We must also understand that there are millions who are involuntarily getting into the industry as well. These women and children are forced into physical bondage as well as emotional, spiritual, and mental bondage. There are many children who escape the industry when they are adults. They have stated that these pimps and madams treat them like family and even warn them against having sex for money. Yet at the same time, they will thrust men into their lives and tell the them to get to know these men. They tell them to go after the money, not the men. Thus, the girls eventually succumb to having sex with these men for money. Sometimes, the pimps and sex establishment business owners will brainwash the child by seemingly caring for them. They will coax the child to become more and more open to devious sex acts using tactics and strategies to make them feel as if they have no other options in life. A number of these victims develop Stockholm Syndrome, which is a psychological effect where hostages and victims develop sympathy and affection towards their traffickers and pimps.
It is much worse for a child who enters voluntarily or who is trafficked against his/her own will into the sex industry. The traction and mind control that a trafficker has over a young child can be very manipulative and atrocious. Many times, traffickers threaten these victims saying that they will be killed, mutilated, and stuffed in the gutter if they pursue an escape from the industry. I have beeThere are also instances where these sex slaves are forcefully given drugs so that when they are eventually rescued, they actually end up going back to the brothels on their own due to the stronghold of the drugs which are overpowering their lives. These girls are being exploited in every which way possible, and the men who frequent these types of establishments either don’t care or are unaware. Let’s make them care! Let’s spread awareness! Even room salons (room bangs) or hostess bars which appear harmless are actually refined brothels. Many of these women who work in these types of establishments in the States are tricked and trafficked into the States under false identities. There is also a growing trend of American women who are getting into this industry for the “quick and easy” money.
Remember–just because there’s a happy-looking girl acting like she wants to have sex with a customer or even stating that she loves her job, nine out of ten times, this is a façade.
This also trickles into the porn industry as well as strip clubs and online sex chat rooms. Sexual exploitation makes up 79% of human trafficking, including forced stripping, pornography, massage services, and prostitution. Behind closed doors, these sex slaves live in terror, shame, guilt, fear, and without any hope. They are the most vulnerable humans on Earth. We must spread the word to help stop this injustice from continuing on! The complete abolition of sex trafficking in our lifetime is imperative and affects each and every person in the world today.