2017: ‘Comfort Women’ and Contemporary Sexually-Exploited Women

"Trostfrauen", "Comfort Women"
The Asia-Pacific Journal | Japan Focus Volume 15 | Issue 19 | Number 4 | Oct 01, 2017
Mit freundlicher Erlaubnis von Japan Focus

Thinking About Coercion in the Context of Prostitution:
Japan’s Military ‘Comfort Women’ and Contemporary Sexually-Exploited Women

Onozawa Akane and Kitahara Minori
Introduction and Translation by Caroline Norma

Leading feminist thought leaders Onozawa Akane and Kitahara Minori discuss in dialogue the contemporary relevance of the Japanese military scheme of wartime sexual slavery. They identify the recruitment tactics of Japan’s pornography and prostitution businesses today as similar to those used in the wartime trafficking of women, and suggest that low level comprehension of women’s human rights means male demand for prostitution continues unhindered in Japan, as it has throughout modern history. The two authors suggest that the social context of women’s prostitution, which occurs in conditions of gender equality, must be emphasized in order to combat victim-blaming ideas about women’s ‘choice’ and voluntarism in being sexually exploited. They canvass policy alternatives against prostitution like the law currently in operation in South Korea and France that penalizes sex industry customers.

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