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.
20 thoughts on “Loving Prostitutes”
Every so often a story leaks out about the plight of the poor Korean women – buried on the back page. Korean Girls/women had so little status to start with and then they were brutally forced into prostitution. Where are the rabid “Women’s Rights” groups’ voices? “Bossy” is more important?
The irony of the dog. I pray she is able to keep them – outcasts that need each other. COmfort where you find it.
These stories really tear at my heart – maybe other places don’t see it, but there are young girls – mostly illegal of all races/groups mislead, battered into submission, held against their will, and forced onto the streets in the US. One of the worst aspects of illegal immigration/gangs/drug cartels – it’s one reason why so many of us scream about border control…we see their eyes. Groups rescue who they can, but the damage is done. Many can’t/won’t go home again
This is a must read post. Well done
There are so very many of them–girls and boys both–subject to human trafficking and slavery. On every continent. As you point out, the gangs and cartels victimize nearly everyone they touch, and they don’t have even the shred of “honor” (or rules about certain people being “off limits”) that used to presumably be part of some crime syndicate activities.
Is there any organization, or anything, that is trying to help these women?
There are organizations in Korea for supporting “comfort women.” There are also many organizations that work (mostly locally) in helping prostitutes.
There are several memorials to comfort women in the United States, including one in Glendale, California which a judge (just last month!) ruled did not need to be removed. Why would people have wanted it removed? There are always historical revisionists working overtime to have their propagandistic versions of the past displace the truth.
There are groups in my city offering protection and help to prostitutes, as well as organizations to combat human trafficking. It’s infuriating how invisible the latter is, though that is, slowly, starting to change. Fighting it, though, will take action on a massive, international scale. God help us!
A while back, maybe a decade or more, a group was advocating removing all of the slave-built dry-stack walls around my city because they were a “testament to slavery.” …the African-American community stepped up and said “Don’t you dare. That’s our history.” Sometimes well-meaning people aren’t thinking people, and fail to recognize that humanity needs reminders of shameful and horrible doings. “Lest we forget.”
“Lest we forget” is a vital concept–both personally and communally–for anyone who hopes to become better than they are.
i would love to talk with an ex , 1950’s Korean prostitute. I served with the US army in south Korea in 1958, and much love remains in my heart for these people.
I need so very much to talk with one of these women. I love them all. May God bless.
Assuming this is a serious response… I’ve known people who did spend much time talking face to face with these unfortunate women. That’s easier for other women, then men. Especially other women who have been similarly victimized. I too share great compassion for them, but suspect that when approached by men they almost always have to suspect ulterior motives.
Robstroud, thank you for your reply. I served with the U.S. army during 1958 and 1959. I was located approx 2 miles south of Seoul. I came to know a young south Korean lady. She had a younger brother and sister, that I was with a short time most days. i fell in love with this Korean woman, and we shared letters untill early winter of 1964, with me sending her a small amount of money each week during this time. For the past 12 yrs. I have searched for this family, but have had no positive results.I need help , but I don’t know where to go after trying the places I have. I am grateful for the memories that bring both sadness and joy. Just hearing a south Korean woman speak would be so rewarding today. Thanks to all that share on this site. George Breen
George, I hope you can reconnect with the woman or her family. However, I would not know any special channels for doing so. If she was part of any social community (such as a church) you might want to contact them directly.
I know your situation is not unique and suspect that the Korean embassy would have suggestions on ways you might be able to renew a friendship, even after all of these years. I suppose, though, that you have already considered that. In case you haven’t, this is their website: http://usa.mofa.go.kr/english/am/usa/main/index.jsp
Mr. robstroud, sir, I ask your forgivness for my poor use of words. I am from a farm in the rural South, with only a 11 year education. You and others here write so well. I thank you for your reply, and for you suggesting the website. I have tried the Korean consulate in Atlanta Georgia, but last evening I did send a message , using the e-mail address from the sight you suggested. I tried to explain my need to locate a member of the Korean family that I love so much. Are you aware of any group for ex, 1950’s or 1960’s, ex Korean prostitutes, where I may find a older woman that would talk with me? All of these Women that I came to know while in south Korea, I remember as kind and gentle people. They made a stay away from home in a land far away, as good as they possibly could. George Breen
George, I think I understand what you’re saying. Please write to me privately at my gmail address: chaplainstroud@
We read in the news of the 1400 children forced into prostitution by Muslim gangs in Britain between 1997-2014 – and ignored by the officials of Rotherham, South Yorkshire – and of Isis and their imprisoned Christian and Kurdish “comfort women” in Iraq and Syria, and of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped and sold by the Islamic Boko Haran. Meanwhile in Germany (and other countries in Europe with legalized prostitution) the government has very helpfully installed automated street meters to collect nightly fees from “freelance” prostitutes or “sex workers” – mostly from economically-depressed areas in Eastern Europe – who work independently of tax-paying brothels.
Meanwhile, Western feminists with their very large liberal-media/entertainment-industry-provided megaphones are fighting for the right to kill unborn children in the wombs of their mothers.
What insanity and horror!
Yet what would the world look like but for “the Light [that] shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (John 1:5)?
I saw that story. It was unbelievable. And the girls were non-Pakistanis. That doesn’t make it worse, since a victim is a victim, but it shows how they did not force their fellow Muslims into sex slavery, but rather the infidel majority that surrounds them there in England.
I don’t even like to adorn sexual slavery with the less ugly (in modern eyes) word “prostitution,” because these girls and women did not have any choice, nor did they receive compensation. They were simply treated as animals. Worse than animals.
You’re absolutely right that this world in which we live would be even darker than it seems, were it not for the Light that allows other sinners (such as ourselves) to honestly say, “there, but by the grace of God, go I.”
Robstroud, what a great reply,”there,but by the grace of God, go I.” Would anyone know how I could talk to an older ex. Korean prostitute ? Preferably from the Seoul area. George Breen
Too many Christians judge and condemn prostitutes. They forget that Jesus told the religious leaders who wanted to stone the woman taken in adultery that he who was without sin should cast the first stone! And there is nothing glamorous about prostitution nor about the futures of most of them, contrary to what the movie “Pretty Woman” implies.
I despise the movie “Pretty Woman,” for just the reason you allude to–that it deceived so many people into thinking there was some glamor and dream fulfillment associated with this destructive behavior.
As for Christians condemning prostitutes… those who do should simply read the Gospels. Jesus associated not only with tax collectors, but also with prostitutes. He knew what they needed was compassion, mercy and hope–not judgment.
Reblogged this on theraineyview and commented:
Human trafficking has been destroying lives for a very long time. The victims are people, often just kids, and if they are lucky enough to grow old, many have no homes to grow old in. Everything has been taken from them for the profit or convenience of exploiters. This is an excellent post on the topic of human trafficking and war, from an excellent blog.
Thanks for sharing this with others.