Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Thousands of Korean women are the sex slaves of foreign English teachers

Or so claims the 2006 Breaknews article which first connected foreign English teachers with AIDS. The article was, of course, brought to us by Anti English Spectrum, and statistics in it have turned up in commentary upon pending parliamentary bills. Here's what it looked like in its 'Inside Story' newspaper edition - as the front page headline:


It's a monster in size and content, so commentary on it will come later in a separate post (as will a line by line translation, in case the original disappears). Many thanks to Ben Wagner and Coola for the translation.
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Tracking [down] blacklisted foreign teachers suspected of having AIDS


[Exclusive Coverage] 80% of those frequenting AIDS testing center for foreigners are native speaker teachers

▲It is reported that 80 percent of foreigners who frequent HIV/AIDS counseling center for foreigners are foreign English teachers.


The harm beyond imagination caused by illegal, low quality foreign English teachers has been exposed thanks to five articles published in succession by this newspaper. There is worry that because of these teachers, not only will the academic performance of students suffer but, due to the excessively generous treatment of these teachers, the nation’s economy will also suffer losses.

More importantly, the suffering of the women who have become victims of sexual assault and rape by foreign teachers cannot possibly be described in full, according to victims’ testimonies, and it is said that some women have even committed suicide. Even now, the number of Korean women who exist somewhere as the sexual playthings or sex slaves of foreign teachers is estimated to reach into the thousands or tens of thousands.

A common point made by those who have started a movement to expel illegal, low-quality foreign teachers is that this situation is much too serious to just be regarded as “their own private matter.”

Those who have started this movement are especially concerned about the high possibility of the spreading of AIDS and other STDs through promiscuous sexual relations between foreign teachers and Korean women.

As a result of our coverage on this issue, we have found that an AIDS counseling and testing center in Seoul (hereafter “Center”) is being frequented by many foreigners looking to get tested for AIDS and other STDs.


Fear of AIDS from a “one-night stand” with a foreign teacher?

The Center explained that a good many of the foreigners seeking out the center were white-collar workers. At an AIDS counseling online bulletin board, there are often postings by Korean women worrying that they might get AIDS after having had sex with a foreigner, further exposing the seriousness of this issue.

As a result of this situation, we can derive the following conclusions: ▲Many of the foreigners sojourning in Korea make a living as English teachers; ▲Among those English teachers, it has been proven that many of them are enjoying sexual relations with not just one Korean women but with many; ▲And considering the fact that Korean women have personally reported their cases of victimization, we can see that these women are being defenselessly exposed to AIDS.


According to an official at the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, foreigners sojourning in Korea for 91 days or more with the goal of earning income must submit a certificate that proves that they are HIV-negative.

However, the category including those who “earning income” only applies to foreigners working in the entertainment field, such as entertainers and athletes, etc., and does not apply to English teachers.

Among foreigners living in Korea, an AIDS test is not mandatory for English teachers.

Only those who wish to get a free test receive one. If an HIV infection is confirmed, the Immigration Service’s recommendation is that they leave the country, according to the provisions of the authorities.

First of all, the fact that AIDS tests are recommended and not enforced is something that is difficult to understand. An official at the AIDS counseling center explained that this policy was put in place to protect the human rights of foreigners.

The Center currently promotes, through various English media outlets, including The Korea Times, that it is offering free AIDS testing for foreigners. After an applicant goes through counseling and books an appointment, he or she goes to the Yongsan-gu Health Center within 3-4 days to get an AIDS test. Of course, it is guaranteed that their anonymity will be protected.


“Mandatory tests violate human rights” vs. “The need to block citizens’ exposure to danger at its root”

The counseling bulletin board shows complaints by many Korean women regarding anxieties about AIDS after having sex with a [foreign] teacher

An official at the Center revealed that according to the results of surveys filled out by foreigners who requested tests, the majority of reasons for wanting an AIDS test consisted of the following: sex with others (one-night stand); a new partner; regular check-ups by homosexuals; pregnancy or drugs.

The official explained, “We must consider the fact that, compared with Koreans, foreigners do not possess such guarded views toward AIDS tests, and their [general] perceptions are more open than those of Koreans, so many ordinary people tend to seek out these tests.”

The official continued explaining that, “We carry out 2-3 tests per day on average, and the probability is that an HIV-positive result would come back an average once or twice a year,” adding that, “Of the patients who test positive, about half are gay.”

According to the Center official, and contrary to the reporter’s expectations, of the foreigners who receive [AIDS] tests, most are not (unskilled) foreign manual labor workers who may have unstable sexual and economic lives but are white-collar workers from English-speaking countries.

The Center explains that this is the reason why the Center promotes its [free AIDS] testing through media outlets that are frequently accessed by [foreign] white-collar workers.

In particular, when we look at the occupational distribution of those requesting tests, 80 percent are English teachers, 10 percent are other white-collar workers, and the remaining 10 percent consists of students and other Asian foreigners from countries such as India, Vietnam and China.

The Center official said, “Since those working as English teachers are statistically numerous among foreign residents in Korea, it is completely natural that English teachers account for 80 percent of those requesting tests.”

The Center also showed how much effort it puts into protecting the human rights of foreigners who have contracted AIDS. The Center official explains, “In the past, if a foreigner tested positive for AIDS, that person did not even have time to collect his or her belongings before being forced to immediately leave the country. However, things are a little bit different now.”

Another official at the Center said, “AIDS is not an easily transmitted disease, and these days, if the disease is discovered early and is treated continuously, a patient can even fulfill their full life expectancy.” The official also added, “And if a person receives a test result that is HIV-positive, that person would actually want to go back to their own country and receive treatment.”

However, some people are expressing that they cannot understand the government’s lenient approach toward foreigners, as Korea too is not in a safe situation when it comes to AIDS.

Above all, they claim that despite the fact that promiscuous sexual relations between foreign teachers and Korean women have been going on for many years now, and serious problems are arising in our society as a result, to exclude foreign teachers from submitting HIV-negative confirmation reports is nothing but unexcused negligence toward the spread of AIDS and other STDs.

Currently, the total reported number of HIV patients in Korea is said to be approximately 4,000. There was once a time when AIDS was regarded as an irrelevant issue to Korea. However, now with a more open sexual culture, and with more Koreans traveling to and from overseas, including Korean overseas tourists, the number of AIDS patients is on the rise.

In this regard, a former English hagwon teacher Mr. H expressed his anger over the issue saying, “When many foreign teachers are in Korea and are having promiscuous sex with Korean women and creating problems in society, to just leave this matter to voluntary self-regulation under the pretense that AIDS does not spread easily would be the same thing as letting a snake loose onto a patch of grass and then lying down on that same grass.”

He added, “Perverted, low-quality foreign teachers regard Korean women as mere sexual playthings, and such foreign teachers usually engage in promiscuous sexual activities with numerous women. They even approach married women to fulfill their own sexual needs.” He expressed concern over the government’s application of laws and systems that ignore the reality of things, which could end up becoming one of the major causes behind the spread of AIDS in Korea.

The reason why 'Inside Story' decided to report on this issue was because we received information about an AIDS Counseling Center online bulletin board where many Korean women were continuously submitting complaints about their anxieties regarding AIDS infections after having sex with a foreigner.

And while researching on another Internet cafe website, this reporter was also able to find a comment put up by a homosexual Korean man who was worried about AIDS after having sex with foreign teachers. In fact, it was reported that last July, one native speaker teacher in Daegu was found to have contracted AIDS.

▲ Experts say that “Because of human rights issues, converting voluntary AIDS tests into mandatory tests for foreign teachers will not be easy.” This photo has no connection to this story.


One government official that met with this reporter not long ago discussed another issue regarding the enactment of the Special Act on Prostitution, and how it brought on a new serious problem in the form of increased overseas sex trade. He cautiously pointed out that “Korea is receiving much international criticism due to the extraordinary number of women embarking on overseas sex trade expeditions. It would be ideal to bring these women back to Korea. However, the process is complicated, and we must also consider the possibility of a spread of STDs if we were to allow a great influx of these women back into Korea.”

This comment is quite significant in that it supports the view that [Korean] women who have engaged in sex with foreigners are more likely to be infected with AIDS or STDs.


Violation of human rights vs. overall health [of society]

An official at the Korea Federation for HIV/AIDS Prevention (KFHAP) commented on this particular issue. “If we were to change voluntary AIDS testing into mandatory testing only for foreign teachers, from a human rights perspective that would constitute as discrimination against these people (foreign teachers) and would go against [the principle of] equality. However, from an overall health of society perspective, it is a fact that, because many Korean women associate with and date foreign teachers, exposure to danger is indeed that much higher.”

He added, “Even though native speaker teachers may account for a high percentage among foreigners, to apply mandatory AIDS testing instead of voluntary testing to only these people would be discrimination based on professional grounds and would be considered an excessive/unjustifiable measure. But on the other hand, there are opinions saying that there is a need for testing when we consider that the nature of their jobs involves a lot of interpersonal relations.”

Results of survey on foreigners seeking AIDS tests show motivations for getting tested: A new partner/change in partners; Korean men in homosexual relationships with foreigners [getting checkups]

The official [at the KFHAP] cautiously expressed the following. “This is an issue that our Federation is also concerned about. However, this is something that must be very carefully/seriously discussed while considering both sides of the issue (human rights violations vs. the realities of [society’s] overall health).

Among foreigners who are staying in Korea for 91 days or more, the government currently requires only those working in the entertainment business to submit certificates confirming their HIV/AIDS-negative status. However, two years ago, the Ministry of Employment and Labor also started to enforce a law that requires foreign workers who are industrial trainees and foreigners who have entered Korea under the Employment Permission System to mandatorily take AIDS tests.


In relation to this, the official at the KFHAP added, “The Ministry of Employment and Labor is currently being criticized for enforcing AIDS tests on foreign workers who are industrial trainees, etc.” “Critics say that the actual mandatory testing itself is not a big problem. What is a problem is that these people are receiving unfavorable treatment as a result of those tests.”

He also expressed his frustrations with reality. “We are already enforcing mandatory testing on foreigners who work in these two groups: those in entertainment and manual labor workers. Critics are saying that it is too heavy-handed to include native speaker teachers in those groups. Also, foreign diplomacy issues need to be considered, so this is an issue that will not be resolved easily.”
__________________________________

“Prioritizing the Protection of Foreigners’ Human Rights Over the Protection of Our Own Citizens”
The Risk of AIDS Infections Must be Reduced by Strengthening E-2 Visa Rules

'Inside Story' has done five reports regarding the “Realities of Illegal, Low-quality Native Speaker Teachers.” We met with Mr. K who has given us much help in our coverage of these stories. Here we listen to Mr. K talk about the reality of Korean women being defenselessly exposed to AIDS through sexual relations with foreigners, and also about preventative measures regarding foreigners and AIDS.

▲It is said that 80% of the foreigners who have requested tests from the foreigners’ AIDS counseling center for were English teachers. What do you think of this?

- E-2 Visa requirements must be strengthened. If many foreigners are included in that group of workers, then physical, disease check reports (AIDS) should be included in the required documents for E-2 visas, as many of them [foreigners] [already] go through this process. Currently, however, physical checkups and health tests that allow us to check for AIDS or syphilis are not included in the required documents [for foreign English teachers].

▲They say it is even more dangerous because there are many cases where hagwon teachers do not submit health check reports.

- When hiring native speaker assistant English teachers, Korea’s Ministry of Education & Human Resources Development does require the submission of a criminal record check report and a health check report issued by a medical institute. However, it is common for hagwons to omit this process as long as the [foreign] hagwon teacher has an E-2 visa.

▲The AIDS counseling Center for foreigners says that continuing to maintain the current policy of voluntary AIDS testing is the right thing to do in terms of protecting the human rights of foreigners. What do you think of this?

- They are patients, and therefore their human rights must be protected. In that case, however, our own people who are exposed to AIDS, our own daughters who might be included among them: Don’t they have human rights? I cannot help but view this as a reckless human rights claim. It is a fact that we are now exposed to more open sexual cultures and more dangerous situations, and [Korean] women who have met with foreigners are crying out over their anxieties regarding AIDS. It is inevitable that the levels of danger will increase when we consider the teachers who have entered on tourist visas, or illegally sojourning foreigner teachers that related authorities are not even capable of keeping track of.

▲How would you respond to counterarguments that claim that the perspective you have expressed is exclusivist/xenophobic toward foreign English teachers?

- This is not an exclusivist/xenophobic view; this is a matter of the survival of Korean women. They [foreigners] have entered Korea and are enjoying personal rights, but if Korean women are being exposed to the threat of AIDS, isn’t it right for the government to at least put some effort into blocking the source of the problem through [enhancing] the E-2 visa requirements?

12 comments:

Hannah said...

God, what a ridiculous article. Were those photos from it? It looks like they either chose stock photos of "healthcare" and blurred out faces, or snatched promotional photos from the int'l clinic and Yonsei's Severance Hospital and blurred the faces. And the one of people looking at a bulletin board with an AIDS ribbon? They were probably some regular folks just looking at a display on AIDS awareness. Terrible "journalism."

matt said...

Some of those photos are actually quite interesting, such as this one. I'll delve into that more in the 'analysis' post. More embarrassing is that this article most likely helped lead to E-2 visa holders requiring HIV tests.

Gary Norris said...

American English Spectrum may have some support in the xenophobic right wing, but most of their claims have been justifiably denounced.

The presence of this article as an archive does not at all represent the tone and content of current discussions about foreign teachers in the culture, nor the government for that matter.

I think it might serve all our interests to put the 2006 article into perspective with the larger cultural discussion that Koreans do, in fact, have about our presence here. This is one kind of comment among the many voice that criticize our presence here. And it's an unfair account of much fair criticism.

In addition it's ridiculous to imply that most Koreans believe this bullshit. (That you fail to ever put this nonsense into perspective is to imply.) The Korean media is more infamous (among Koreans) for its bullshit than it is for its ability to educate and inform the public.

But for every racist Korean in Korea, I *can* find a douchebag American trolling for sex and boozing it up at every opportunity, never mind teachers who are here to be paid tourists and could care less about their duties as teachers, never mind their public and vocal disdain for Korean culture. That's how Koreans look at the problem, and I know this from experience. They don't trust the majority of teachers nor do they trust the media nor do they trust the government. I'd say that's a healthy and rational attitude.

In addition, it's easy to dig up shitty hysteria about foreigners. Too easy. I could do it anywhere we might live and might read an article about foreign and/or immigrant, skilled/unskilled laborers: UK, Europe, China, United States, Canada, et al. The successful minority groups living in all of these places are bombarded with untold amounts of shit from a vocal minority within the majority culture. What's the significance of giving it more critical assessment?

You write that AES's nonsense has made it into the commentary of pending legislating. No shit. I'm thinking about the racist commentary that has long made it into the commentary of pending legislation back home.

I'm not saying don't write about it, complain about it, address it. I'm simply asking what purpose you're applying to these posts on your blog--the posts that illustrate a Korean perspective about foreigner that a minority of Koreans actually hold.

Given the title of your blog, it would appear without your commentary stating otherwise that this is some popular cultural expression. Open-minded people living here know that it's quite the contrary. It's much more complex than you (re)present.

I suppose I might not understand who your intended audience is supposed to be. I'm genuinely interested.

B_Wagner said...

This Breaknews article was citied in a petition to require E-2 visa holders to be AIDS tested, which was submitted to the Ministry of Justice by Anti-English Spectrum in September 2006.

The Ministry of Justice began requiring AIDS tests for E-2 visa holders in December 2007.

Gary Norris said...

Nice to see that you dumped my comment. So much for public discourse. For somebody who whines a lot about the dishonesty of the Korean press (about foreigners,) it's rather strange you take down a post that asks a simple question about your intent. It's not as if I don't sympathize with you.

Anyway, good thing I saved it. I'll, instead, post it to my blog with your post.

I think it's more than fair to insist that when we blog about korea we don't misrepresent the folks we're criticizing. AES and the conservative Korean press aren't accurate signifiers of Korean (popular) culture. Colonialism comes in many shapes and forms.

matt said...

I didn't delete any comments, though you have, as you put it, "whined about" this twice now. This is the first I've looked at the blog, or been on the internet, since 11:00am. If you saved it, then post it again.

By the way, almost every major paper from left to right (excluding the Hankyoreh) has interviewed AES, as have SBS, MBC and KBS - hardly just the conservative press. And in a recent poll, some 80% of respondents thought the AIDS test shouldn't be removed from the E2 visa requirements, suggesting that their foreign teacher = AIDS propaganda has had some effect.

I actually think that the attitudes you see in the media towards foreign English teachers and migrant workers are the reverse of the reality - migrant workers face a much harder time and more discrimination than English teachers.

So if not the media, or polls, or movies and television, where we do see negative portrayals, what would you consider to be accurate signifiers of Korean (popular) culture?

dvm said...

I actually think that the attitudes you see in the media towards foreign English teachers and migrant workers are the reverse of the reality - migrant workers face a much harder time and more discrimination than English teachers.

I agree. This writer ignores migrants as a possible (and more likely) source of AIDs. (Not that I want Anti-English to go Anti-Migrant; they have a hard enough time over here.)

Further, a staggering number of migrant wives here married a Korean (usually firstborn, farmer) man in an attempt to escape the sex trade back in the Philippines or Vietnam. They don't require any AIDs testing. They wind up being "the sex slaves of country adjucees." (said kettle to pot)

Not to mention the deluge of Korean dads who live abroad.
They don't get lonely away from their wives for 6mo at a time?
Taking home a little curbside love in the US vastly increases your risk of infection.

These Korean citizens re-entering Korea (and re-entering their wives) are not required to submit to an HIV test. Hmmm, a culture with a penchant for marital infidelity, condomless sex, and denial...

Then the wife who is left in Korea while her husband is away... well, she gets lonely. She has an affair.

One has an affair with a foreigner! She is so taken by his treating her as an equal. A few months go by and they are in bed together, talking. She complains how she hates her husband, how he abuses her, how he's always with the whores.

Whores? The foreigner goes in for an AIDs test the next day.

Why are there more foreigners, English teachers? Because they WILL get tested.

How hard do you think it might be for someone raised Korean to say, "Test my blood"?

dvm said...

But now that the hook is in my mouth, I ask: Why a hook made in 2006?

Is this just fodder to keep the page moving? Are you still mad about this since 2006?

It appears to me that AES crap is only slightly better received here than Nazi stuff is 'back home.' The occasional Jew goes nuts over it and publishes stuff, but the rest say, "Ach we're Jews, they're Nazis, leddem say what they want."

"Your intent" was mentioned earlier, but I can't see the post about which the prior plaintiff protested.

Do you really think that kind of material has much of an impact? Maybe it does, and I'm naive. That and I have a lot of good Korean friends who don't take that AES stuff very seriously. It's a hate tabloid. Was it's citation in that petition

Personally, I forcibly shifted my attention away from it last year, and severely limited how much of it I would allow myself to read, just because it was graying my sky.

matt said...

I don't think painting foreign English teachers with a "treats her as an equal" white knight is very helpful - as distorted as the article is, it's not like it comes from nowhere.

And this article had a direct effect on E2s having to submit HIV tests. When the new regulations were put in place in 2007, the MOJ said outright it was in response to social outcry caused by news reports - and the only stories of foreign teachers with AIDS in the media were put into the media by AES, who submitted petitions to the MOJ asking for HIV tests for teachers, and who were then invited to the Immigration policy meeting where the new regulations were decided upon. Figures from the article have turned up in commentary on a pending bill in the national assembly which would require HIV tests from all foreigners wanting to work in Korea. So yeah, I think this article had an impact. Which is incredible when you see the claims made in the article (such as the title of this post).

J. Griffin Stewart said...

WOW! And I just thought this site was way over exaggerating how Koreans felt about foreigners and AIDs, but doesn’t seem so far off anymore:
http://www.koreaisbest.com/aids.php

matt said...

So... are you being sarcastic, or do you not realize that site is a joke?

curious said...
This comment has been removed by the author.