“Happy Endings” in Korean Massage Parlors Thriving in the Sex Trafficking Industry

blog#2 massage sign

written by gkim

This is just one of many massage parlor signs littered across the city of Seoul. So many corners with so many different signs that represent the rampantly growing sex industry… This one clearly reads “massage” in Korean however, I walk inside one of these places to ask for their pricing and I’m turned away. Their answer is simply: “You’re in the wrong place.” No explanation, no apologies, no excuses. I walk out fully aware of why I can’t get a simple one-hour oil massage.

If I were a male walking into that establishment, I would have been greeted by the hosts at the front desk. Payment would’ve been required there which is 220000 won (about 200 US dollars). Next, I would have gone downstairs into a locker room where I would store my belongings and get into a robe they provided for me. I would head over to a sauna full of men while I wait for my turn. A female madam would appear in the sauna full of naked men, and beckon me. Then, I would be escorted into my own room where a naked “masseuse” would be waiting. Once the door shuts behind me, this young girl would disrobe me and begin to bathe me in the shower that is inside the room. Midway through this, she would perform oral sex. Once I’m squeaky clean, she would guide me to a massage table where I would lie face down as she situates herself onto my backside and does devious acts that most Korean wives would probably never think of doing. She’ll finally lead me to the bed where a condom is put on and sex would occur. In some places, the condom usage depends on what the client desires, and the workers must comply. From what I know, even the “cleaner” places are a bit dingy–comes with the territory I suppose. There are many places that offer more than one woman per client as well. Who would I possibly run into at these joints? Mostly married men consisting of CEOs of huge corporations, corporate employees, bored singles, some tourists, and a number of deportees.

A large number of these girls are forced, trafficked, and sold into this type of work and there are many who end up viewing it as their only choice in life. Many men are fooled by their smiles or stories, and they don’t see these women as victims. Many of these women are enslaved and will not expose their truths to total strangers. What’s even more ludicrous about this is that these types of massage parlors follow Koreans into the States. There are underground places like this in American cities of huge Korean populations where only the Korean taxi drivers and extremely observant Korean citizens are privy to their locations. These places just happen to be much more visible in Korea because the land is so small. Prostitution is illegal in South Korea. Having said that, you have to be blind not to notice what’s going on. Prostitution in these massage parlors are a form of male dominance over women–like there isn’t ENOUGH of that here. If only these places could just run out of business…there are just so many clients. Working to shut them down legally is futile when the cops are constantly being paid off to stay hushed. There are just way too many supporters, way too many people who want to satisfy their curiosities, and way too many worker bees who need some type of release. There are even some prostitutes who fight against the anti-prostitution law. We, Christians, need to start our own rally against trafficking and prostitution. We must do God’s work here on Earth because that is our purpose–to serve Him.

Women who rally for the right to sell their bodies just ruin it for all of the trafficked women and children who are desperately seeking a way out of this life. However it is not their fault that they have been blinded by the enemy. We must fight together to end modern day slavery and raise efforts to distinguish between justice and injustice in God’s eyes.