The problems associated with the sex trade are particularly pronounced in South Korea, where “camptowns” that surround U.S. bases have become deeply entrenched in the country’s economy, politics and culture. Dating to the 1945 U.S. occupation of Korea, when GIs casually bought sex with as little as a cigarette, these camptowns have been at the center of an exploitative and profoundly disturbing sex industry—one that both displays and reinforces the military’s attitudes about men, women, power and dominance. In recent years, exposés and other investigations have shown just how openly prostitution has operated around American bases, leading the U.S. government to ban solicitation in the military and the South Korean government to crack down on the industry. But prostitution has far from disappeared. It has only grown more secretive and creative in its subterfuge. If you want to know more about what’s at the root of the military’s struggles with sexual abuse, look no further than Songtan.
Read more at Politico.