Prostitution in Other Cultures
Prostitution exists all over the globe. We will now explore how different countries handle prostitution and the different problems they encounter. In the accompanying Human Sexuality in a Diverse World, “In Their Own Words,” three women discuss their experiences of prostitution.
During World War II it is estimated that 200,000 women from Japan, Korea, China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Taiwan, and the Netherlands were taken by the Imperial Japanese Army from their hometowns and put in brothels for Japanese soldiers (Kakuchi, 2005). In 1993, Japan finally admitted to having forced women to prostitute themselves as comfort girls, and now these women are demanding to be compensated for the suffering they were forced to endure. In 2005, the Women’s Active Museum on War and Peace in Tokyo was opened to honor the women who worked as sex slaves during World War II.
In the Philippines, many women were similarly forced into prostitution and were called hospitality girls. Although hospitality girls are a thing of the past, today women may freely choose to prostitute and may informally work when they need extra money
or have lost their jobs. These women do not see themselves as prostitutes and may have other jobs in addition to sporadic prostitution. The majority of police in the Philippines believe that prostitution is shameful for women (Guinto-Adviento, 1988).
A group named GABRIELA (General Assembly Binding Women for Reforms, Integrity, Equality, Leadership, and Action) has formed in the Philippines in an attempt to fight prostitution, sexual harassment, rape, and battering of women. There are more than 100 women’s organizations that belong to GABRIELA, which supports the economic, health, and working conditions of women. GABRIELA operates free clinics for prostitutes and also provides seminars and activities to educate the community about prostitution (West, 1989).
Human Sexuality in a Diverse World