Students From Five Different Nations Discuss The Situation Of Prostitutes In AsiaAs the table coordinator for discussion on the topic of "Sexuality and Prostitution of Women" held from August 12 to 15 at Seoul National University, the reporter had the opportunity to listen to a debate among 16 Asian law students from Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, Japan, and Korea. These students gathered to search for solutions to the difficult circumstances of prostitutes in Asia.
Table coordinator: Prostitution has been around for so long, but it has not been recognized as an actual profession in most Asian countries. In some parts of the world, such as the U.K., Amsterdam (Holland), and Nevada (U.S.), prostitution is recognized as a profession, which allows prostitutes to work in certain districts under the state"s control. This is known as state-regulated prostitution. After watching the Korean movie "Bad Guy" (Na-ppeun Nam-ja), what can you say about prostitution in your countries compared to prostitution in Korea?
Ranyta (Indonesia): In Indonesia, most of the prostitutes are illegal immigrants. Prostitution exists in a concentrated form in Jakarta. We enacted a law banning prostitution just last year. In my country, laws do not serve as guidelines in real life. Laws do not reflect people"s lives.
Wataru (Japan): Osaka has the most developed brothel district in Japan. "Haramizu," meaning "joyful sport for men," is a special area where women are paid to provide sexual services without intercourse. Although the police try to restrict such activity with laws and special ordinances, the prostitution rate seems to remain the same.
Kevin (Malaysia): In Malaysia, different punishments are given depending on the religious background of the person. If the person is a Muslim, then that person is tried under the Islamic laws, which demand six lashes for adultery. Prostitution would be categorized under adultery if the man were married.
Clara (Singapore): Illegal immigrants are the main constituents of prostitutes in Singapore also. They are usually centered in a closed-off alley in Chinatown. Brothels are pretty obvious because of the red lettering on the motels engaged in the practice.
Ey (Thailand): In Thailand, prostitutes usually get phone calls directly from the customers looking for sexual services. It is different from prostitution in Korea in that it does not involve a third party, like the keepers. Also, there are websites and chat rooms that have become a popular venue for seeking prostitution. Many high school girls sell their bodies for money to fulfill their desires for expensive goods.
Table coordinator: Ever since the first female Seoul police officer, Kim Kang-ja, initiated a movement towards the adoption of regulated prostitution, there has been much talk about it. Since all the countries participating in the discussion today prohibit prostitution in their penal codes, what can you say about adopting this new system of restricting prostitution?
Wataru (Japan): I think it is a good beginning to try to regulate prostitution. Although prostitution has existed for as long as humans have, it is only recent that social issues concerning the human rights of prostitutes and sexually transmitted diseases such as AIDS have come to the focus. Something has to be done, and states that regulate prostitutes by taxing brothels and mandating regular health check-ups should keep such problems under control.
Ling (Thailand): Five years ago, Thai laws punished just the prostitutes, but a new law was passed to decrease the punishment of prostitutes and increase the punishment of customers and third parties. However, the prostitution rate has not gone down. State regulation is needed to control these problems.
Khok khin (Malaysia): I agree that some regulations are needed for this social problem. All the Asian countries represented here today still take the conservative approach by trying to prohibit prostitution altogether. However, after the four-day discussion, I have come to conclude that the prohibitive measures of today are not doing anything. Under state control, effective and realistic measures can be provided.
The delegates from these different parts of Asia agreed that current laws that prohibit prostitution altogether are only exacerbating the present situation of Asian prostitutes. It was agreed that more realistic measures are needed, and state regulation could be a more adequate solution.
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