Fearing the rise of a new generation of Asian comfort women, newly elected Gabriela Congresswoman Arlene Brosas called for a stop to the prostitution of Pinays by U.S. soldiers in “juicy bars” in South Korea.
“Sec. Perfecto Yasay should make representations with the United States forces in Korea to communicate this long-running problem that American servicemen stationed in the peninsula are the root cause of the exploitative entertainment trade near their military bases,” Brosas said.
Brosas based her call on reports that desperate job seekers in Manila were lured by recruiters and given E-6 visa for entertainers but were herded to prostitution clubs known as “juicy bars,” forced to provide sexual services to U.S. soldiers.
Prostitution is illegal both in the Philippines and South Korea and yet reports of trafficking persists.
The 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report issued by the U.S. Department of State confirmed that “foreign women on E6-2 entertainment visas — mostly from the Philippines, China and Kyrgyzstan — are subjected to forced prostitution in entertainment establishments near ports and U.S. military bases.”
Brosas added that the Filipino ambassador to Seoul, Raul Hernandez, is aware of the seriousness of the problem of undocumented E-6 visa holders.
She surmised that they are likely to be victims of trafficking, but noted that the efforts made by embassy officials seem barely effective or commensurate relative to the gravity of the problem.
Hernandez claimed to have worked with the commanders of the U.S. bases in South Korea to prompt them to issue “a policy letter banning U.S. soldiers from buying expensive drinks for women, mostly Filipinas, working in these bars in exchange for their company.”
Brosas said this is a Band aid measure that does not adequately address the problem.
“At best these policy pronouncements are just for show and have little effect on U.S. servicemen from abusing women in (military) base areas. The continued prowling by U.S. marines on leave who left dead Jennifer Laude in the Philippines, and the unnamed Okinawa woman in Japan prove that the only way to stop abuses of local residents is to remove the military bases from Asian countries. Sec. Yasay needs to step in and engage higher level efforts with the host countries,” she said.
The Gabriela solon said that if left to fester, the trafficking problem in Korea will breed a new generation of Filipino comfort women who will emerge bear the ugly scars of war and militarism.
She called on the people to join the growing anti-bases movement in Japan, Korea and the Philippines in opposing the continued stay of U.S. forces in East Asia and petition the new administration of President Rodrigo Duterte to decisively oppose U.S. intervention and address the plight of Filipino victims of human trafficking. (MCA)