Lawyers argue South Korea organized prostitutes for US troops

Jason Morrison/stock.xchng
Jason Morrison/stock.xchng

Lawyers argue South Korea organized prostitutes for US troops

by: Stars and Stripes | .
Stars and Stripes | .
published: January 31, 2015

SEOUL — The South Korean government systemically encouraged women to become prostitutes near U.S. military bases for decades and then failed to adequately care for them afterward, lawyers for a group of 122 women argued during a court hearing Friday in Seoul.

The plaintiff’s attorneys stated Friday that the women were organized by the government to service U.S. servicemembers as their “patriotic duty” from the 1950s through the 1970s. Government officials managed them and instituted mandatory treatment for sexually transmitted diseases, though at least one of the plaintiffs suffered from a penicillin allergy, attorneys stated.

The 122 elderly women are asking for more than $1.2 million, an official apology from the government and an investigation into South Korea’s oversight of their work.

An attorney for the defense denied the government had formally organized the women as prostitutes, and added that none of the government’s ministries had any further information on the subject.

The next hearing has been scheduled for April 10 in Seoul Central District Court.

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