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HOW THE LAW WAS ESTABLISHED

Under the Act on the Prevention of Morally Degrading Behaviors(APMDB), women in the sex trade were not given any substantive protection. In accordance with this law, women were punished despite having been forcefully trafficked, abused, assaulted, held captive, or extorted. They were judged and punished solely for engaging in the sex trade. Women were also punished for fraud if they were unable to pay off their "advance payment." Pimps and traffickers use " advance payments" to blackmail women into selling sex in order to pay off the money received in advance with exorbitant interest.

In 1995, there was a tragic fire at a correction facility that was supposedly established to protect the women in the sex trade. Since the women were held in captivity and unable to escape, many of them perished in the fire. This highly-publicized tragedy motivated Korean society to discuss the need to amend the APMDB. By the late 1990s, the growing problem of foreign women being trafficked and abused, coupled with shocking news reports of under-aged girls lured into the sex trade, brought the harsh realities of the sex industry into the spotlight. It became clear that the human rights violations occurring daily could no longer be ignored.

By the late 1990s, the general public recognized the urgent need to protect victims of sex-trafficking. The Ministry of Gender Equality(MGE), established in 2001, worked to end sex-trafficking by playing an integral part in the creation and legislation of the current Anti Sex-Trafficking Law. The MGE asserted that sexual violence, domestic violence, and prostitution were the most basic forms of violence against women and determined theat women involved in the sex trade should be protected by the state.

In 2000 and 2002, there were two more fires at Daemyeongdong and Gaebokdong in Gunsan. Trapped inside the buildings, nineteen victims of sex-trafficking died. Women's organizations had been working for years to bring about real reform. The accumulating death toll of nameless victims, a few high profile cases that made the news, and women's organizations' relentless efforts so educate the public about the sex-trafficking finally compelled cooperation between outreach organizations, progressive expert groups, the Ministry of Gender Equality, the Ministry of Justice, local governments, and members of the National Assembly. This collaboration led to the establishment of the Anti Ses-Trafficking Law. This landmark law was passed in March 2004, and became effective on September 23rd of the same year. The Anti Sex-trafficking Law, which replaced the APMDB, consists of two parts: the Acton the Punishment of Intermediating is Sex Trade and Associated Acts (the "Punishment Law") and the Acton the prevention of sex trade and Protection of Victims Thereof (the "Protection Law").


MAIN CONTENTS OF THE LOW

The Anti Sex-Trafficking Law is divided into two sections: the Act on the Punishment of Offenders, under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Justice, and the Act on the Protection of victims, under the Ministry of Gender Equality. The purposes of these two laws, referred to as the "Punishment Law" and the "Protection Low",respectively, are clearly stated in Article 1 of each act. They are designed " to eradicate engaging and intermediating in selling or buying sex, and to prevent human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation," and "to prevent the sex trade and human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation and to protect the human rights of victims of sex-trafficking."


1.The Punishment Law

①The New Term "Trade of Sex"
The Anti Sex-Trafficking Law changed the term from "Morally Degrading Behavior" to "Trade of Sex" While the old term condemns buying and selling sex on moral grounds, the term "trade of sex" applies a strictly economic approach and is meant to imply that buying and selling sex is a criminal offence.
②Decriminalinzing Victims of Sex-Trafficking
A person who engaged in the sex trade will not be punished as long as he or she is considered a victim of sex-trafficking. When the term "victims of sex-trafficking" is used, it refers to those who were forced to sell sex by means of force or similarly coercive methods. It also refers to those who were intoxicated by narcotic drugs, psychotropic medicine, or marijuana, those who do not have or lack the ability to distinguish between right and wrong or make decisions such as juveniles, or people with serious disabilities, as defined under the Presidential Decree. People are also considered victims if they are trafficked for the purpose of sex trade. This refers to those forced to sell sex against their will after receiving advance payment and those who gave their passport or any certificates which prove their identity to their pimps or traffickers for the purpose of promising to pay their debt off.
③Invalidation of Claims Arising from Illegal Causes
If a person is intermediating sex trade or associated acts, any claim he or she has on those who sell sex or those planning to do so shall be invalidated regardless of the form or pretext of the contract. This claim invalidation also applies to any person who employs and recruits people to sex or anyone who introduces and intermediates work selling sex. It also includes anyone who has trafficked another person for the purpose of sex trade. The same shall apply when the claim is transferred to a third party or the financial liability is undertaken by another. This means that any claims by third parties, such as the advance payment and debt that a pimp transfers to another loan shark, are also invalid.

Furthermore, when investigating any case involving such obligations, investigative agencies are required to investigate if the claim has been made for a debt created for illegal purposes.
④Special Provision for Foreign Women
When a foreign woman reports a crime under this act, or is investigated as a victim of sex trade, she shall not be subject to deportation or detention at a government facility. The foreign woman may also be allowed to use victim assistance facilities until the investigation is over. Also, in accordance with the Act on Special Cases Concerning Expedition Etc. of Legal Proceedings, a foreign woman who is a victim of the sex trade has a right to claim compensation from her exploiter.
Other Sections to Note
·The law states that the public should be given preventive education on issues involving the sex trade.
·The law criminalizes both advertising and placing an advertisement that invites or seduces acts of selling or buying sex.
·The law specifies that the victim or reporter of the crime may be accompanied by a person of fiduciary relation during
 the investigation and trials.
·To protect the privacy or safety of the victim or reporter, the law states that he or she has the right to a closed trial.
·The law states that when a person who commits criminal acts under this Act reports to a law enforcement agency or
 voluntarily surrenders oneself, the punishment may be reduced or the person may be exempted from punishment.
The Protection Law
① The law declares that the state and local governments shall provide legal and institutional devices to take necessary
    administrative and financial measures to prevent the sex trade. They must also protect some means of socioeconomic
    independence for the victims of the sex trade and those who sell sex.
②The law decrees that the heads of primary and secondary shall purpose preventive education about the sex trade in
    accordance with the Presidential Decree to develop sound values and prevent the sex trade.
③The law prescribes the types of assistance facilities to be establish, the establishment of said facilities, admission procedures
    for these facilities, the operation protocol for said facilities, and the establishment of counseling centers.
    The law also prescribes the responsibility of assistance facilities and counseling centers for supporting the victims of
    sex-trafficking. It also details the specific support for medical expenses and subsidies of expenses that the government can
    or must provide.