South Korean Sex Workers Vow to “Take Every Measure” to Challenge New Organised Crime Policies Which Further Criminalise and Disempower Sex Workers - Part 2
Part Two: “Professional Whistle-Blowers and Bounty Hunters” are encouraged to Target Sex Workers as Part of a National Campaignto “Crack down on Organised Crime”
Ostensibly keen to be seen to be making an effort to rid South Korean of its vices and corruption, South Korean Prime Minister, Ms. Park Geun-Hye, has implemented a national job scheme offered to those with a simple penchant for nosiness, or possibly an overzealous sense of nationalism. Park has expanded a policy in which citizens act as “professional whistleblowers or bounty hunters” for “organised crime”. Under the legislative interpretation of Korea’s current sex industry legislation, virtually aspect of sex work falls under the definition of “organised crime”. Park has failed to specifically identify whether the sex industry will fall under her “organised crime” whistleblower program; however, given that the outsourcing of law enforcement has also been something of a boon for local governments and administration with, local administrators claiming that “They can save money on hiring (police) officers, and that the fines imposed on offenders generally outstrip the rewards paid to informers. For example, the reward for reporting illegal garbage dumping is about $40, whilst the fine is about 10 times as much.”
Currently the “professional-do-gooders for money" community, as they refer to themselves, have concentrated on “anti-social crimes” such as dumping garbage at camping sites, coin-operated coffee machines in Internet sites lacking proper sanitary tags, and publically disposing of cigarette butts inappropriately. However, as more South Koreans are attracted to the seemingly well-paid and romanticism of the “self made spy”, “whistleblower” or “bounty hunter” industry, some are taking on specialities; for example, professional spies who sell information about the sex industry to the government are known within their community as "seongparazzi".
As for the Park regime’s new plan to stamp out “organised” crime, Korean sex workers have made the following statement.
“Prostitution is already illegal in Korea. That is why sex workers cannot ask for protection during their work. Rather than protecting sex workers, the police violate their human rights during crackdowns. Amidst all this, this new policy will pose a new threat to the survival of sex workers. With bounty hunters at large, sex workers will have to hide in the shadows where there is neither safety nor a regular income. This policy is also dangerous as it may direct public frustration at the Park administration’s incompetency, incapacity and dishonesty towards sex workers by defining sex workers as the delinquent “others”. Stigmatising minorities as criminals and putting them into dangerous circumstances represents nothing short of a witch hunt.
To most of male, female and transgender sex workers, sex work is a matter of survival. Before asking sex workers why would they go into this business, the government should reflect on the circumstances that renders sex work inevitable. A weak social safety net, prejudices within Korean society, and the attitude of Korean society towards poverty should be held accountable. Sex workers constantly have to be afraid and will have no access to workers’ rights and human rights as long as prostitution is deemed a crime and “prostitutes” as filthy.
We, the members of Giant Girls, the Network for Sex Workers’ Rights, express our outrage over this incompetent and irresponsible government announcement and declare that we will take every measure against the situation.”