SKorean sex workers rally to protest stricter laws
By AP News Sep 22, 2011 9:15AM UTC
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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Hundreds of South Korean sex workers have rallied to call for the abolishment of laws that toughened the punishment for prostitution.
About 1,600 prostitutes and pimps chanted slogans calling for the laws to be scrapped at a rally in Seoul on Thursday. The prostitutes mostly wore baseball caps, sunglasses and masks to hide their identities.
Police said the rally was peaceful.
South Korean prostitutes wearing caps and masks to cover their identities raise their balloon sticks in a rally against the enacted anti-prostitution law in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday. Pic: AP.
Prostitution is illegal in South Korea, but is widespread despite repeated government crackdowns.
South Korea enforced tougher anti-prostitution laws in 2004, driving thousands of prostitutes and pimps out of business.
Earlier this year, police launched intensified crackdowns on several brothels in Seoul and other cities, sparking violent protests.
South Korean Prostitutes, Pimps Rally Against Police Crackdown
AP/The Huffington Post First Posted: 05/17/11 03:08 PM ET Updated: 07/17/11 06:12 AM ET
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South Korea , South Korea Prostitution , Prostitution , Red Light District , Sex Workers , World News
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) – Hundreds of prostitutes and pimps rallied Tuesday near a red-light district in Seoul to protest a police crackdown on brothels, with some unsuccessfully attempting to set themselves on fire. (Scroll down for photos)
A crowd of about 400 people, mostly women wearing baseball caps, masks and sunglasses, chanted slogans like, "Guarantee the right to live!" during the four-hour rally.
At one point, about 20 protesters in their underwear and covered in body and face paint doused themselves in flammable liquid in an apparent attempt to burn themselves, but others stopped them from lighting any flames. Some of the women then sat in the street and wept and screamed, while other protesters consoled them.
Minor scuffles between protesters and police officers erupted after the rally, but there were no reports of major injuries.
Prostitution is illegal in South Korea but is widespread despite repeated government crackdowns.
The rally comes weeks after officials began stationing police cars near brothels in a bid to drive away people looking to pay for sex.
The sex workers accuse a nearby department store of pushing police to take such measures. Police deny the claim.
As part of their protest, a group of prostitutes on Sunday tried to buy expensive items at the department store with only coins; when they were rejected, they placed large piles of coins on the department store's floors.
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