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Korea Colloquia Series "The Emergence and Consolidation of U.S. Military Prostitution in South Korea, 1945-1970"
"The Emergence and Consolidation of U.S. Military Prostitution in South Korea, 1945-1970" by Professor Seungsook Moon of Sociology at Vassar College in NY
Friday, October 13, 2006
2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
11377 Bunche Hall
A history of American military presence in Korea began in September 1945, when the 24th Army Corps, consisting of some 70,000 soldiers and led by Lieutenant General John R. Hodge, arrived to transfer power from the crumbled Japanese colonial empire. During the United States Army Military Government rule (USAMG 1945-1948), unregulated prostitution was suppressed to control the spread of venereal disease (VD) and at the same time regulated prostitution was used as an inevitable means of entertaining male soldiers. The succeeding Korean government of President Rhee (1948-1960) maintained a similarly ambiguous position on prostitution that both criminalized it in law and condoned it in practice. During the 1950s when the Korean War resulted in the semi-permanent U.S. military presence, the development of camptowns sped up to meet various reproductive needs of American soldiers and prostitution became an integral component of the camptown economy. During the 1960s, continuing to criminalize prostitution in law, the military government of President Park further consolidated camptown prostitution through creating 104 "special districts" and instituting rules to support the camptown economy. This chapter contends that informal yet consistent policy regarding prostitution existed beneath the apparently contradictory position shared by the U.S. military authorities and various types of Korean governments during the period in question (and even after); While unregulated or private prostitution was suppressed to prevent the spread of VD, regulated prostitution was not only condoned, but also actively created by the authorities to control male soldiers.
Open to the public
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Sponsor(s): Center for Korean Studies
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