[EDITORIALS]Fighting prostitution is a battleThere are big hopes for the new anti-prostitution laws that will go into effect today, which will punish not only prostitutes’ customers, but their pimps as well.
Although prostitution has been clearly illegal for a long time in Korea, it has been so pervasive in our society, to the point of becoming part of our daily lives. This is because of non-existent police enforcement and virtually no real punishment for either customers or their pimps.
The law that was in place only punished the powerless women involved in prostitution. Under such conditions, prostitution spread like a poisonous fungus while these women had to live in a blind spot of our society, where their human rights were of the least concern.
What is even more worrisome is that so many different forms of prostitution are being conducted that it is difficult to find a moral corner in our society, and that more violent means of trading in human lives are being used to secure prostitutes. The entire society is in a struggle to get rid of the problem of prostitution.
In order to truly get rid of prostitution, the supply and demand must be cut off at the same time. In order to help prostitutes from falling into the same trap again, we have to provide a support system.
The newly announced measures are designed to punish those who arrange prostitution, while protecting the victims, the prostitutes. One would like to think that this time, our efforts to root out prostitution will bear some fruit.
Nevertheless, getting rid of prostitution won’t be easy. There’s a reason why it’s called the world’s oldest profession.
Last year, in a phone survey, 48.5 percent of men surveyed admitted to having bought sex. Eighty percent of them said they didn’t feel any guilt.
The success of the new law depends on how much it can raise the moral standards of our society. Already, there are worries that the new law will act as a catalyst for new forms of prostitution to emerge.
Enforcement should be continuous and persistent. At the same time, at school and at home, parents need to shed the awkwardness that comes with talking about sex and teach their children that the act is a beautiful thing to share with someone you love.
Religious groups and social organizations should also help in encouraging healthy attitudes toward sex in Korea.