[EDITORIALS]Questions About Human Trafficking

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[EDITORIALS]Questions About Human Trafficking

"South Korea is a country of origin and transit for trafficking in persons," is the shocking assessment put forth in a new U.S. State Department's report on human trafficking. The report sums up the status of human trafficking in 82 countries around the world. The report puts South Korea in the "third tier" along with 23 other nations, including Russia, for having the lowest adherence to regulations to bar human trafficking.

The report confounds us. In essence, it judges countries on whether the government applies legal measures to ban and prosecute illicit recruitment of persons, and whether it cooperates with other countries to protect the victims of trafficking.

The Korean criminal code has specific clauses on the sale of women for prostitution and other indecent jobs, kidnapping and induced sales of persons for transfer out of the country, and for receiving and hiding those kidnapped or sold through inducement.

In addition to the provisions in the criminal code, there is a special law regarding prostitution, based on which authorities have cracked down on illegal trafficking. The Korean government in 1985 signed the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.

The government is spending 700 million won($535,000) for victims facing deportation and who have no money to travel to their home countries. All of this, and still the U.S. State Department says that there are no specific laws to crack down on trafficking of persons in Korea and that the government does not offer support programs for the victims.

Is this a justified assessment, we ask? Does the United States have the right to evaluate other countries according to standards set forth in its domestic laws, while completely ignoring international standards such as the discrimination convention?

We also ask our government to actively cooperate with governments of other nations so that victims, whether they be Koreans or foreigners, can safely return to their homelands.
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