We are a modern-day abolitionist movement.
The grave injustice of human trafficking is thriving in Korea. We are calling the church to rise up and unite in the fight for justice: to love orphan, sex slave, imprisoned, and exploited. We are passionate to spread the message and love of Jesus through the ministry of setting captives free. We cycle across Korea, from Busan to Seoul, for hearts and culture to change.
human trafficking in south korea
Human trafficking is a form of slavery where people profit from the control and exploitation of others (definition from Polaris Project). Despite the fact that all countries have laws in place prohibiting slavery, some estimate that there are 27 million slaves in the world today. In this rapidly growing criminal enterprise, there are source, transit, and destination countries. Most countries are active in only one or two of them. South Korea, however, is recognized as active in all three.
HISTORY OF SEX TRAFFICKING IN KOREA
In 1916, during the Japanese occupation of Korea, prostitution was legalized to serve the ruling elite. By WWII, the numbers held in prostitution rose from 4,000 to nearly 200,000 women, over half of which were from Korea, including kidnapped elementary-age girls. The rationalization of such atrocities were that these so-called "Comfort Women" prevented disease and rape and provided comfort to the soldiers. The South Korean military adopted this rationalization during the Korean War through 특수 위안대 "Special Comfort Units"--deployable mobile units that visited men in their barracks--available for Korean, UN, and U.S. forces.* In the 1960s and through Korea's economic development, the Korean government designated some 100 Red Light Districts as part of its economic strategy for increasing international revenue. It continues to be seen as a "necessary evil" in today's culture.
* 김귀옥 박사, 한국 적쟁과 여성: 군위안부와 군위안소를 중심으로 / "The Korean War and Women: Military Comfort Women and Military Comfort Facilities at the Center"
- Sex trafficking generates over $13 billion (14조원) annually
- Less than 1% of Korean prostitution is in service to U.S. military personnel
- Korean men are the top sex tourists in Southeast Asia
- Over 500,000 women are trapped in the sex industry
- Average entry age into the sex industry: 13 years old
- Interview of 100 girls/women in sex industry revealed 95% had been raped/sexually abused before the age of 12. Almost 50% were sexually abused before the age of 8.
- Survey in Girim area Red Light District in 2012 revealed that of the 350 women working, 50% were either orphans or from single-mom homes
Statistics collected from TIP Reports, Korean Institute of Criminology, Ministry of Gender Equality and Family, and research done by Hope Be Restored
- Apathy and denial: Many believe that the majority voluntarily enter into and remain as prostitutes as a source of easy money. At the same time, it continues to be seen as a "necessary evil" for men to relieve stress.
- Corruption: Those that are supposed to uphold the law and defend the victims actually use these sexual services and maintain a "boys will be boys" mentality.
- Culture: the history and prevalence of sex trafficking as social and economic development remains deeply engrained.
- True worship
- The Gospel
"With what shall I come before the Lord, and bow down before the exalted God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousand rivers of oil? Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul? He has shown you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:6-8)
If the Church does nothing, who else can carry the gospel of Jesus into the evil and brokenness? We are calling the Church to rise up and lead in the fight for justice. We believe that the Church must rise up and must stand united in this fight and we believe that Ride Against Traffick is casting the vision to raise the Church to champion God's heart for justice.
The battle against human trafficking requires truly long-suffering commitment. The ride in some ways reflects this kind of long-suffering. One could forget a moving documentary or even a justice conference. One does not easily forget the painful endurance that is required cycling from Busan to Seoul. Join us!