War brings out the worst in all countries regardless of the side you might be on. WWII had some of the most heinous crimes against human beings that the world has ever seen. The holocaust and Russian prison camps are the first things that people think of. There was forced prostitution throughout areas of Asia. The fear of war also brings out the worst in countries and their policies. This will delve into the world of the comfort women that were around during WWII and in Korea after the Korean War.
What Were Comfort Women?
Comfort women were women that were used to keep the spirits of the soldiers up in Japanese territories during WWII. These women were forced into prostitution to keep the tension amongst the ranks down. The women in the territories that the Japanese occupied were often forced into prostitution. The Korean comfort women were around where US troops were stationed to keep the US troops happy. The US comfort women in Korea were also used for more nefarious reasons. Lawmakers were heard to have said that the comfort stations should be expanded and women trained so the US troops would not go into Japan and spend their money. The fact that forced prostitution was government mandated in the first place is ludicrous but the fact that the government thought about expanding it is even worse.
Where Did They Come From?
These women came from predominantly poor families in Japanese occupied territories. Promises of jobs in factories brought the women from their hometowns but took them directly to the comfort stations. Many times the women who worked at the comfort stations were kidnapped by soldiers in the middle of the night. The numbers of comfort women are still a debate as the Japanese government and Korean governments but try to downplay their roles in the forced sex slave trade. The women who refused to take part in the forced prostitution were executed and this fear led many women do what they had to with survival in mind.
What Did They Endure?
Around three-quarter of the women did not make it out of the comfort stations alive. The conditions were terrible and physical and mental abuse happened as a daily occurrence. The women’s health was bad because of the diseases that they had contracted from the male visitors to the comfort stations. Many of these women still deal with mental issues some 60 years after their time at the comfort stations. Children that were conceived with US soldiers as the fathers in Korea were looked down upon and discriminated against. The citizens of the country should have looked at their government with anger rather than the victims of sexual slavery.
As you can see, the comfort women have a story that needs to be told. The fact that many of these women are aging and passing away makes this even more paramount to have their story heard. If we do not spread the word about this, governments may not be held accountable.