1000 March for Korean Sex Work Rights

September 28, 2015

The fight for the decriminalisation of sex work is spreading throughout the world. After the decision by Amnesty International decision to push for the move, sex worker from all over the world are calling for a more relaxed attitude towards the industry.

An Army on the March

The latest country to see protests is South Korea, where 1000 sex workers marched on the capital Seoul asking the the abolishing of anti sex work legislation, which outlaws the buying and selling of sex.

Jang Se-hee was one of the girls, and she told a reporter how she became involved in sex work. Apparently her Father had just passed away after being in hospital for seven years.

“The medical bills were just enormous,” the 40-year-old said. “My siblings were too young, and my father had divorced my mother. I was the de-facto breadwinner of the family.”

She went on to explain why she was marching.

“We are telling the government that we are willing to and want to pay our income tax,” she told The Korea Herald. “And we are asking the government to regulate the industry and protect us with that tax money we are willing to pay. Right now we can’t pay taxes (because sex trade is illegal) and are not eligible to receive a lot of welfare benefits and protection because of this.”


Jang is adamant that the law, as it stands, doesn’t meet the practical needs of sex workers. She claims that since the law was enacted in 2004 many of her friends have been attacked whilst working, but are unable to go to the police as they risk getting prosecuted themselves.

However, she doesn’t want the the sex trade decriminalised completely. Instead, she wants brothels to be licensed and authorities to monitor the industry.

“The government currently gives 400,000 won ($335) a month to those who quit sex work and are looking for another job. How do you make a living and support your family with 400,000 won a month? Many say we are lazy for not trying to find another job. But most people have no idea what it is like for women without an education to find a job that pays enough to support herself and her family.”

Well, it seems that there is a war on. There are those who want to see sex work pushed underground due to some sort of moral crusade. Then there are those who would much rather listen to sex workers and their needs.

If we all stand together it is a fight we can win; I’m sure of it!

Martin Ward
Follow me

Leave a Reply