A Culture of Trafficking

Comfort Women 2

I struggle on days like these sometimes.  Every survivor has their triggers, and mine is the military.  I don’t have a problem with the military men and women who have died for our country.  I think they are amazing.  I think their choices were selfless.  I have nothing but respect for them.  I struggle with the culture in the military, the behaviors they promote and the behaviors they ignore.

I know what PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) feels like.  I have it.  I know how it can turn a life upside down.  I know how hard it is to step out from under the paralyzing pain of the flashbacks and the paranoia.  It is almost impossible to live in the present moment when there are so many unresolved emotions on the inside.  It is like living with the trauma every day when the traumatic event is gone.

In my opinion, the military is not doing enough to address the effects of PTSD on those who serve.  It also doesn’t help that our culture encourages men to “be tough”, so it is more difficult for them to admit they are haunted by traumatic memories.  Unfortunately, I think that some turn to other methods of stress relief, unhealthy methods.  And these unhealthy methods are not discouraged within the military culture.  Purchasing sex is seen as an acceptable way to relieve the stresses of war.  The prominent sex tourism destinations in Asia started by serving the military personnel who were stationed in those areas.  Still today, there are brothels with trafficking victims near most American military bases inside and outside the United States.

This is not just an American problem.  Some of the most horrific stories from World War II describe the use of “comfort women” by the Japanese government to “comfort” their stressed out soldiers.  The Japanese started with the poor women in Japan, but quickly moved on to abducting women from other Asian countries.  They set up comfort stations for Japanese soldiers.  Women were forced to have sex with 40 to 50 men per day.  The conditions were not much different from concentration camps.  However, when these countries were liberated from the Japanese, the women were kept in these comfort stations to service the “liberators”.

When my father sold me to the brothel, it was located right down the street from Quantico.  Almost all of my customers were military.  Many were still in uniform.  I was nine years old.  Every service member knew I was not eighteen years old.  I am absolutely convinced that the military leadership was aware of that brothel.  I am also sure there was no discouragement.  This is a cultural issue.  This must be stopped.


10 thoughts on “A Culture of Trafficking

  1. I am so grateful to you for writing this post. I grew up not far from a few military bases, and I know many of the men who purchased sex from the children where my dad sold me regularly were military men. Like you, we were clearly not adults–I may have been as young as 4 when that began, and many of the girls were not much more than 6. They knew we were not adults. Thank you.


  2. God that is awful, I’m so sorry you were tortured as you were. I am against war so can’t back up the military. I’m sure people will hate me for saying that. But part of the reason I dislike the military so much is for its use of rape as a means of warfare and personal gratification. Sickening is what it is. The very fact they referred to sexually enslaved women as “comfort women” makes me so angry and disgusted. How could they treat humans like objects? It’s still happening too so we aren’t much better off. The laws don’t do enough for the victims of war. People aren’t robots for goodness sake. Killing and raping is wrong no matter the culture or ethnicity of those involved. There’s just no way one can moralize rape or killing. I don’t have the answers but I know war is certainly not it.


    • I agree with you. The military culture has glorified rape as a method of war and as a “stress-reliever” in so many countries. In America, we have so many problems with sexual assault within the military and the higher ranks are not handling it well. The first step for the American military is to remove the separate military justice system, and put these folks in prison for what they are doing. Once there is some accountability, we might see some cultural changes.


      • Yes, that would be a good idea. I hadn’t thought of that. Why do they have a separate judicial system anyway? Unfortunately lots of rapes occur without prosecution even in the regular justice system. I mean stealing money or robbery gets more prison time than rape it seems. Why give more value to property than a woman? We’re objectified and treated, in some instances, as property yet the system has double standards or something. It just makes me really angry that sexual violence happens at all to anyone.


      • Definitely. Sexual assaults need to be taken more seriously across the board. We have a long way to go before women can be safe. The laws are starting to get tougher for trafficking now. Even the “johns” can be charged with a felony if they pay for sex with a minor in my state. But there is still so much more work to be done.


      • Wow, that is better than where I’m at. I live in Canada and I am not sure but there has been discussion around penalizing the “john’s” but it isn’t likely to happen soon. I think the U.S. might be ahead of Canada with respect to prosecuting sex crimes and related offences.


      • Well, we are doing a pretty good job at passing the laws and putting the penalties in place. Now, we just have to increase our use of them and put more of these folks behind bars. One step at a time.


  3. I just heard, that ISIS is having “sex-jihadist” malaysian women (and teenager girls as well) to “serve” the islam by “sexually comforting” the extreme islamist and jihadist men of ISIS. wonder, how much these women were fueled by religious fanatism, and how much were they actually sold into these religious rape concentration camps by their family.

    the second world war ended terribly for hungarian women, we don’t know exactly, how many women were raped and/or killed by the “liberating” soviet soldiers, but the numbers range from 200.000 to 2 million. and we had to celebrate the rapist liberators for 40 years, every fucking 4th of april.


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