There's a group here in Seoul called Incurable Fanatics*. They stand up against human trafficking and, by golly, they do things about it. Most of the group are Korean-Americans and straight foreigners. I had the honor of being involved in one of their flash mobs last month. We went out to Gangnam and Seoulleung, two areas where you will find flyers covering ledges, littering the ground, and stuck into the cracks of car windows. The flyers are mild to graphic advertisements for prostitution which is illegal in Korea. The advertising is also illegal, but it is rampant as if there's no law whatsoever.
We went out to collect the flyers and cards one night in a large group. At the end of the night, the leaders of the group took the loads of bags and ads to the police station to show the authorities that the foreign voice is on their side and to show them what a poor image the prostitution industry gives Korea in the foreign eye. The outsider's opinion holds a lot of weight these days in the light of the Korean Wave, and the Incurable Fanatics want to use all the leverage they can.
For some background information, I highly recommend reading how much a part of the culture prostitution is from the standpoint of a foreigner married to a Korean man as posted here on The Grand Narrative. It may also be helpful to know that Korea is one of the largest (2nd largest in 2006) internet pornography consumers in the world. It makes up 25% of the worldwide pornography revenues. Finally, here's the Wikipedia article on Korea's prostitution.
Here are some photos from the night.
**Be advised. I've kept the selection to the tame ones, but I will show some pictures of the ads.**
|We headed off in Gangnam first.|
|After just 30 minutes we moved over to Seolleung. Our bags were already halfway full.|
|The cards were everywhere.|
|The darkness was thicker in Seollung, and not just the absence-of-light kind.|
|This is the building where many of the girls stay.|
|Many girls will be tricked into the industry or just into one stunt thinking that they're getting a modeling or television gig.|
|A smaller group of 6-8 took another lap after this photo was taken, but this is how much we 50 collected in a little less than 2 hours.|