Human Rights, the Sex Industry and Foreign Troops: Feminist Analysis of Nationalism in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines


Zimelis, Andris. 2009. “Human Rights, the Sex Industry and Foreign Troops: Feminist Analysis of Nationalism in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines.” Cooperation and Conflict 44 (1): 51-71. 

Author: Andris Zimelis


This article explores the relationship between prostitution, nationalism and foreign policies using a feminist analysis framework. Although scholars have dealt with the theoretical role of women in nationalist projects, there is little work factually supporting these theories. There is also a paucity of works demonstrating the role of prostitution in national security policies. This article rectifies these shortcomings and demonstrates that, although prostitution is illegal in Japan, South Korea and the Philippines, these governments have played an active role in supporting and maintaining the prostitution industry geared at servicing US troops. The US troops, in turn, have protected the national security of each of these countries for all of the post-Second World War era. In this context, it seems clear that `national security' does not include the physical, economic, legal and social insecurity of Japanese, Korean and Filipino women despite their contribution to the most quintessential Realist policy — national security.

Topics: Feminisms, Gender, Women, Gender Analysis, Livelihoods, Sexual Livelihoods, Military Forces & Armed Groups, Nationalism, Political Participation, Rights, Human Rights, Security, Trafficking, Sex Trafficking Regions: Asia, East Asia, Southeast Asia Countries: Japan, Philippines, South Korea

Year: 2009

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