Although I have never in my life “physically” loved one, I possess great compassion for them.
Sharing physical intimacy with a prostitute would have nothing to do with “love,” anyway.
My empathy for prostitutes grew significantly during the year I spent stationed with the United States Air Force in South Korea during the 1980s.
My love for them has just been reignited by an article I read about the plight of aged Korean prostitutes who are being evicted from their hovels so that developers can profit. These women, ostracized by their own society and discarded by their pimps and the soldiers, sailors and airmen who abused them, have nowhere to go.
Americans have a perverse understanding of prostitution. Calling it a “victimless crime” is incomprehensible. For every one American call girl living in comfort and able to choose her “clients,” there are probably five thousand who are beaten daily, and driven to an early (often welcome) death.
No woman, at least none with a healthy mind, wants to sell their body and forfeit their future.
The gifted author and professor, C.S. Lewis, recognized this fact.
Prostitutes are in no danger of finding their present life so satisfactory that they cannot turn to God: the proud, the avaricious, the self-righteous, are in that danger (The Problem of Pain).
I love prostitutes because God has granted me the vision to see them as he does. Jesus spoke with true love (agape love) to one unloved and physically used woman he met at a well. You can read the story here.
She had been passed from one man to another and no longer had any options. Her current partner had not even bothered to marry her. She was not unlike the poor prostitutes of South Korea.
Jesus looked into this woman’s scarred soul and offered her forgiveness, healing and peace.
South Korea is prosperous today. It was not always so. During the Second World War, and the Japanese occupation, thousands of woman were enslaved as “comfort women.” The Korean government provides these victims with special compensation. Not so the post-war “comfort women” who serviced the country’s allies.
They did not have a choice either. Which is one reason C.S. Lewis writes, “a cold, self-righteous prig who goes regularly to church may be far nearer to hell than a prostitute.” (Mere Christianity).
And now they languish. Others, working in bars and “clubs” near bases today, are in their “prime.” It won’t last. This will be their destiny as well.
Because I love prostitutes, I pray that they might be liberated from their bondage. And, I also pray, that if they remain trapped in their current plight, that their souls might be free . . . that they might encounter the Messiah who can offer them “a spring of water welling up to eternal life” (John 4:14).
The article I read, and linked to above, ends with a potent yet tragic image.
Jang Young-mi, 67, who was orphaned as a girl and worked in a military camptown for nearly two decades, lives with three mangy dogs. A bite from one of them left the long white scar on her hand, but she refuses to abandon the offending animal.
Dogs too, are often outcasts in many societies. The irony is not lost that in Korea a dog is as likely to be devoured, as it is to be embraced and protected.
The WWII image of so-called “comfort women” is of Indonesian women. It is estimated that the Imperial Japanese Army enslaved a quarter of a million women in Asia to serve in this cruel and vile manner. Due to the large number of victims, many still live today, still hoping for an official apology for their suffering.