The Korean National Police Administration has become involved in prevention programs in schools, and maintains contact with embassies to assist victims of trafficking. The police initiated a program of informing foreign employees of bars and similar establishments of their rights, and, in cooperation with the Ministry of Gender Equality, established a multilingual hotline for victims of trafficking. The government works with NGOs to develop awareness of the issue and help prevent trafficking.
In June 2003, the government stopped issuing E-6 visas to foreign entertainers to prevent thousands of possible victims of trafficking into Korea who get forced into prostitution.
The International Symposium to Counter Prostitution and Human Trafficking, 11 October 2001, participants pointed out that women should use international networks to make the Korean government comply with the conventions of the UN and other human rights organizations.
Together with the KWAU affiliated organizations including Saewoomtuh for prostituted women, Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center, Women Link, Korea Women's Hot Line, Korean Differently-Abled Women's United and United Voice (Hansori) for the eradication of Prostitution in Korea, KWAU has been preparing legal measures to prevent sex trafficking and prostitution, to punish the traffickers and to protect the victims of such trafficking and prostitutes who are confined, trafficked, and forced debt exposed continually.1
South Korea cooperates internationally with INTERPOL and other national governments to help identify and arrest traffickers.2 Some foreign women working in the entertainment industry were advised of their rights in an orientation program organized by the National Police Agency. The police cooperated with officials of the Philippine, Russian, and other embassies in investigating and attempting to resolve various trafficking-related issues and disputes.3
Korea noted that while the death penalty remained an option under the law, it has not been used for four years. Child pornography on the Internet is a big issue for Korea, and the Commission intends developing ideas on how to address it.
There is no single law that specifically prohibits trafficking in persons; however, various laws can be used to prosecute traffickers, including laws against kidnapping, inducement to prostitution, and laws protecting juveniles. These laws stipulate that proper security measures as well as financial assistance must be provided to trafficked victims when they report a trafficking crime. The Labor Standards Law prohibits the employment of any person under 18 years of age in work that "is detrimental to morality or health." The Juvenile Sexual Protection Act, which took effect in 2000, imposes lengthy prison terms for persons convicted of sexual crimes against minors.4
South Korea does not have a comprehensive law prohibiting the trafficking of persons. However, law enforcement authorities rely on several statutes including the Criminal Code, the Law on Juvenile Protection, and the Act on Additional Punishment for Specific Crimes to prosecute traffickers. A new law, the Law on Punishment of Procuring and Facilitating Prostitution prohibits pimping, procuring or the advertising of prostitution.5
The Ministry of Gender Equality provides assistance for temporary and long-term shelters, which offer trafficking victims funding to domestic NGOs, counseling assistance, medical treatment, and occupational training. Foreign victims of trafficking are usually not charged with illegal employment or residency. When trafficking victims report a crime or act as a witness in court, their identity and personal information are kept confidential for their personal protection.6 The Ministry of Gender Equality conducted a comprehensive survey of the sex industry in 2002 that concluded that as many as 500,000 women, Korean and foreign, engaged in some form of prostitution in Korea . The study estimated that the country's sex industry had generated $22 billion (26 trillion won) in profits that year.7
The Ministry of Gender Equality reported it provided over $800,000 for two shelters for foreign trafficking victims and $188 million for 26 facilities for domestic victims. Between January and June 2003, 33 foreign victims were placed in the shelters and 1,001 Korean women in the guidance and protection facilities. In addition, the government resettled 1,280 North Korean females who were trafficked to China and provided counseling, social, and economic assistance to integrate victims into South Korean society. Beginning in 2003, victims received free legal assistance on demand. The 2004 budget for legal assistance is expected to be over $700,000. While there is no victim restitution program as such, this legal assistance allows victims to file civil suits against their traffickers. During 2003, the Korean government cooperated with the U.S. Forces in Korea in identifying brothels suspected of exploiting trafficking victims and barring U.S. soldiers' access to them. In January 2004, the National Police spoke to 777 foreign women near the US military bases to advise them of trafficking issues and their rights.8
South Korea has ratified the ILO Convention 182 to Eliminate the Worst Forms of Child Labor, and has also signed the UN Protocol to Prevent, Suppress, and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.9
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