Juvenile prostitutes subject to legal protection are still treated as ‘offenders’


[젠더폭력, 빈틈을 비추다] 4 times
In May of last year, children and adolescents were subject to protection in the revision of the Ahcheong Act.
Reluctance to report whether the victim will be punished before the revision
Buyers and brokers even threaten youth
Expert “Investigation agencies need to increase their understanding of the purpose and practice of the revision”

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“Isn’t it just about getting money?” A, a teenager, heard from the police officer in charge. Last year, Mr. A entered into a conditional meeting through SNS (SNS) and met Mr. B, a prostitution broker. Mr. B sexually assaulted Mr. A, who was a minor, and embezzled some of Mr. A’s money. Mr. A reported the damage to the police, but the police did not seem to see Mr. A as a ‘victim’. The police defined the two as a ‘money relationship’, and took Mr. A home while accepting only Mr. B’s memorandum of ‘I will give him money’.

The police response that A met is in violation of Article 38 of the ‘Act on the Protection of Children and Juveniles’ (Juvenile Sexuality Protection Act). According to this law, which was amended in May last year, prostitution children and adolescents are not subject to punishment, but to protection and support. Regardless of whether their prostitution is voluntary or coercive, the state must protect children and adolescents who are exposed to prostitution. When an investigative agency finds a child or juvenile in prostitution, it must investigate the case promptly and notify the Minister of Gender Equality and Family and the Mayor/Do Governor in charge of the Support Center for Victims of Prostitution without delay. However, there are constant criticisms that the investigative agency, which is obliged to take protective measures to protect children and adolescents in prostitution, still regards them as ‘offenders who participated in prostitution.’ Kwon Ju-ri, secretary general of the Teenage Women’s Human Rights Center, which supports children and adolescents who have been victims of prostitution, said in a phone call with “there are many cases in which the police either don’t know about the revision of the Sub-Chung Act, or know that they are habitually treating children and adolescents in prostitution as criminals. There is,” he said. In fact, in June, there was even an investigation into prostitutes who were discovered by the police while disguised as a prostitute as a suspect rather than a victim. The Teenage Women’s Human Rights Center has filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, accusing the police of violating human rights by treating adolescent victims of prostitution as criminals. The amendment to the Youth Sexual Protection Act was revised in May last year and came into effect on November 20 of the same year. According to the existing Sub-Chung Act, children and adolescents who were subjected to prostitution were not recognized as ‘victims’ unless it was proved that they forcibly responded to prostitution. Instead, the term ‘target children and adolescents’ was used. ‘Target children and adolescents’ can be protected under the Juvenile Act. Some of the protective measures can also be ‘detention’. Because of the fear of punishment, children and young people were not able to report the damage, or sex buyers and brokers often used it as a means of intimidation. This law was amended as the perception that ‘all children and adolescents who have been sexually exploited are subject to protection’ spread in the wake of the N (N) room incident, but the perception of the field has not changed even after a year has passed since the enforcement of the law. That’s it. There is also a gap in the law. For example, Article 20 of the Prostitution Punishment Act punishes those who advertise prostitution. However, the Youth Sexual Protection Act does not have a separate regulation on advertising for prostitution. For this reason, children and adolescents who post prostitution advertisements may or may not be punished depending on which investigative officer they meet. C (18), who was arrested last August after posting an article asking for a sex buyer on an actual chatting app, was sent to the prosecution on charges of advertising in prostitution under the Prostitution Punishment Act. The prosecutor in charge saw C as a child or juvenile victim and said, “There is no need to punish.” “There is room for different interpretations and application of the law depending on the person in charge of the investigation,” said Bae Bae-jin, a lawyer at the law firm in charge of this case. A revision is needed to clarify the point,” he pointed out. Experts emphasize the need for ‘education’ for on-site investigation agencies. Secretary-General Kwon said, “The first place a victim goes after being sexually exploited is an investigative agency. In relation to this, Lee Kwang-yeol, head of the National Police Agency’s sexual assault countermeasures division, said in a phone call with “Education is being conducted frequently, and we are also promoting it internally. As the organization is large, it seems that there are parts that cannot be conveyed to the front line. We will continue to educate so that this does not happen again.” Reporter Park Go-eun [email protected]


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