Witnesses are Disappearing

The Japanese government’s apology for the forced mobilization of “comfort women” by the Japanese military and the issue of compensation for damages have not yet been resolved. Each time a related article appears, it contains the content that ‘there are some survivors of the comfort women victims.’ This shows that many grandmothers who need to reveal the truth and restore their honor have passed away, and the Japanese government is trying to cover up the case while waiting for the grandmothers to die. Every time I read an article, I feel like a ‘Korean’ or a ‘woman’, and I think of the tragedy and it hurts my heart.
But when I recently came across a similar article again, I had a slightly different feeling. It reminded me of the migrant women I met last year who had been victims of human trafficking.

I got a call last month. It was a Filipino woman interviewed in Busan last year during a survey on the status of an artist visa. He was someone who knew how we came to Busan and came here on purpose from Yangsan. The scene where he trembled while stating his own damage situation is good to the eye. I introduce some of this person’s story with a heavy heart.

This person came to Korea in 2008 after signing a contract with a Korean agency to do ‘singer activities’ in the Philippines. However, the place where I got to work in Korea was a prostitution.

The manager of the establishment asked, “Did you not know that you were doing this?” For three months, he did not receive wages in the name of deducting entry fees, and it was basic to entertain 4 to 6 guests a day, and he made prostitution even on the day of menstruation. During recess, I had to call and solicit customers. Every move was monitored to prevent them from escaping. I couldn’t stand it, so I asked the Americans I knew and managed to escape from the establishment. Naturally, I became an undocumented migrant worker.

When I got a phone call from Lee last month, I was imprisoned at the Yeosu Foreigner Detention Center for a stronger crackdown on illegal immigrants. It was a crackdown by the government to reduce the ‘foreign crime rate’.

The immigration office was trying to force me to leave the country, but I asked if I could sue the former owner. He said that he could sue, but it was too long ago, and because there was no evidence, it was difficult to prove the damage, and it was not easy to get out of the shelter just because of the lawsuit. The man who had not spoken for a long time blurted out, ‘Where are women and human rights? I had nothing to say.

He chose to return to the Philippines without litigation. The places where Korean society’s contradictions are the most cohesive and the most violent are being filled by ‘migrants’. However, the migrants who have endured hardship there disappear too easily from Korean society. The Korean society they endured is the real face we need to know.

Some people may feel uncomfortable about equating survivors of forced mobilization of “comfort women” by the Japanese military and migrant women who have been victims of prostitution. However, the pattern of mass production of victims is similar. The same is true for evading responsibility for victims. I want you to think about how the protection of victims is so insufficient and why they keep disappearing.

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