[LETTERS TO THE EDITOR]‘One-sided’ sex trade newsIt is been about a month since the new anti-prostitution law took effect at the beginning of October.
I have been deeply disappointed by the reports of the JoongAng Daily about the issue, because most of the reports were focused only on the side effects caused by the law, on outright opposition to the law and an editorial that supported prostitution.
The JoongAng Daily reported on many of the protests by prostitutes who argued for their right to make a living. The article “Prostitutes take protest to National Assembly” on Oct. 7 quotes a prostitute as saying, “The new law is only helping some women's rights groups to grow.”
Reporting on the issue like this only focuses on the conflict between prostitutes and women’s right organizations. In contrast, few articles mention the male consumers who use women’s bodies for their sexual desires.
In fact, the JoongAng Daily even seems to support prostitution outright in its editorial “Facing Reality in the Sex Trade” (Oct. 10), saying “[In the 20th century], there is no country where the [sex] industry has completely disappeared” and “the Netherlands and Germany have legalized the industry”.
But I think this notion is completely based on a male view. It is based on the assumption that men’s sexual desires are uncontrollable and that society should admit this “fact” and do something to help men satisfy their uncontrollable desires.
I think the articles should be more balanced and try to show other views about the new law. Most articles seem to only talk about the sellers (prostitutes) and keep silent about the buyers (men).
This can make readers think that this issue does not have any relationship with men although they are another key part of the new law.
And there are many people who think that prostitution is a system that sacrifices some “ruined” women for the convenience of a larger number of men.
Prostitution is a problem about human rights, equality, and social integration. So, we should try to get rid of prostitution for a better future.
It is true that the new anti-prostitution law cannot make the prostitution industry disappear completely. And it is natural that there will be some resistance against the law.
Yet, it is not the role of media to exaggerate only one side of the matter and neglect the other side. There are also many benefits to banning prostitution, such as the prevention of severe human rights abuses.
So I hope the JoongAng Daily will begin to report the positive side of the anti-prostitution law, too. For example, it could introduce articles about sex education in other countries and the efforts of NGOs to support ex-prostitutes, rather than simply supporting prostitution as a natural result of men’s sexual desires.
That would make a more productive and healthier for society in the end.
by Jooyoung Lee