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South Korean sex workers fight to protect brothels
« on: July 06, 2011, 06:46:27 PM »
By HYUNG-JIN KIM - Associated Press | AP – 1 hr 5 mins ago


db1b17fa0d54250ff20e6a7067000035 - South Korean sex workers fight to protect brothels - Asia | Middle East


SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The pimps and prostitutes of Yeongdeungpo start the day as if preparing for a siege, stocking their brothels with flammable liquid and gas containers. Large, red-lettered signs warn police that they're willing to die to protect their livelihoods.

"We can turn on the gas and light the flames," said a 47-year-old pimp who would only give her surname Sohn. "We know that we don't have much chance of winning ... but we're ready to die fighting."

Nearly seven years after tough laws began driving thousands of South Korean prostitutes out of business, the sex workers of the Yeongdeungpo red-light district in Seoul are fighting back, spurred by what they say is an unprecedented campaign of police harassment. Since April they've staged large, sometimes violent, protests that provide a glimpse of the tensions in this fast-changing country as ambitious urban redevelopment projects encroach on old neighborhoods once known for their nightlife.

Rallies by sex workers against police crackdowns crop up occasionally in South Korea, but the protests in Yeongdeungpo — which have drawn hundreds of other prostitutes, pimps and supporters — have been unusual in their size, organization and fury.

The district's 40 to 50 prostitutes describe their fight in life-and-death terms. At a recent protest, about 20 topless women covered in body and face paint doused themselves in flammable liquid and had to be restrained from setting themselves on fire.


More at: http://news.yahoo.com/south-korean-sex-workers-fight-protect-brothels-092505661.html



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