South Korea and prostitution

Some have mentioned that taking pictures of prostitutes is a little weird and I am glorifying or demeaning this practice. Well, not really, and if my naysayers take a moment to peek at the world around them they might learn something about their fellow human being. Although i do not participate in this profession i have gained a lot of insight by casual conversation and realize anyone different is not that far removed from you or i. Nope, not stopping, not going to give in.

I did a post of the Thailand Sex Trade that can be found here. By comparison Korea is well known as a source and destination for human trafficking and from what i researched and observed Korean prostitution it is a little more gritty or covert. Korea being a homogeneous country normally does not cater to the foreigner except around the US Army bases. Here are a few pictures.

The availability of this trade is everywhere, bars, brothels, even barber shops (2 barber poles hanging from the building means a brothel).  For some Korean men, married or not, bringing clients to a brothel is all part of doing business.

Prostitution in Korea is illegal but overlooked. Rick took me to the Red Light district in Osan. It is a one-way one-lane ally lined with windowed rooms facing the street and the street went on for at least half a mile.

(these two photos by Vital and Rabu)

I couldn’t get a good picture of these ladies standing in the rooms; every time I tried they would scream and wave a fist at me. Here is an empty room where you can see the reflection of our car in the window indicating the proximity of the narrow street. You stop, chat with the ladies, and negotiate a price. If a price is agreed upon, you park, walk through the glass partition and get business done.

Here is one lady sitting in her open glass door. Rick stopped the car and I talked to her briefly. I wish we had more time but there were shoppers in the cars behind us.

A more discreet and expensive alternative are the drive-in hotels. You can identify them by the curtain in front of the entrance way. This is to hide your vehicle so your boss or wife won’t see your car parked in the parking lot during your lunch hour. You see these all over Korea.

Unlike Thailand the profession is not in your face but is available for all who just lift up the sheet and look.

Next the last post on South Korea with some parting thoughts about “ugly Americans.”

18 thoughts on “South Korea and prostitution

  1. cyleodonnell

    Nice investigation (and the one in Thailand, too). You should think about taking a class in journalism and design. You already have the curiosity to find the stories and the balls to go in for the pictures and story. I’d be careful, though, of posting photos which reveal the actual likeness of a person propositioning working girls without their permission. They might take it as libel and defamation — another valuable media ethics lesson from a journalism class. Great job, though!

    1. Anonymous

      I haven’t thought that much about it but this is excellent advice and greatly appreciated. Amateur mistake, I need to read more of your post ;)

  2. strollingsouthamerica

    Those drive-in hotels, or love motels, are not just for prostitution. Unmarried Korean couples, who still live with their parents, use them as a place to get some privacy. I have also been in some motels that have a free collection of porn – guess that could be used by all different types of guests.

    1. Dave Post author

      Thanks Rosanna,
      Very interesting. I didn’t get a chance to go in one of those hotels but maybe next time and take some pictures ;)

  3. Andrew Harvard

    “May you grow up to be righteous, may you grow up to be true. May you always know the truth and see the lights surrounding you. May you always be courageous, stand upright and be strong. May you stay forever young.” ~ Bob Dylan

    1. Dave Post author

      Yes it is sad but there is worse in the world and hopefully we can make a small difference. Thanks for reading… Dave

  4. setnaffa

    Because America has no prostitutes, right? You find what you are looking to find. If you are hunting for filth, it’s in every city in every country of the world.

    If you are looking for folks who live right, you’ll find that, too. We see what interested you.

    1. Dave Post author

      America has plenty but not as easily approachable as it is in other areas of the world. If you take the time to read my other posts on S. Korea you will find how much i love that country and what truly interests me. Thanks for viewing.

  5. Dalo 2013

    Very good investigative journalism ~ and I would imagine so difficult, with the reasons you mentioned above. As with all vices ~ they are apparent in every country and while society tries to tuck them into backstreets away from the public, it is sad that it is always part of the population that struggles. It is a sad reality that needs to be put up in front for all to see, not hidden… Well done.

  6. michaelbencik

    Actually, I agree with the comment on unmarried couples using these also. In Japan, Love Motels are used by couples all the time. The woman are living at home till married, so some of the only ways to get it on. But I am sure some Love Motels are used for prostitution also.
    Interesting investigation.

    1. Dave Post author

      Thanks Michael for viewing. I have a couple of friends who live in Korea, they showed me around and i was able to see this for myself. If i was alone i would have never be able to experience this sub-culture.
      Thanks again,

      1. michaelbencik

        I was visiting with s friend who never had met her Korean family, I don’t think this ever would have been in the tour. Hell I got yelled at for putting to low of a price on a lantern. The shop keeper put it on shelf and would not talk to me anymore.

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