A campaign to help Korean-Filipinos find the Korean fathers who abandoned them in the Philippines has grabbed headlines and led to condemnation online. Kopinos, the term for Korean-Filipinos whose mothers are often prostitutes and whose father is a visiting Korean, now number 10,000 in the Philippines. Adding to the furor, coverage about Kopinos has revealed how Koreans have become known for pursuing child prostitutes in the Philippines.
Netizens roundly condemned the behavior of men who look for child prostitutes and abandon their children in the Philippines. Castration and public execution were popular answers to the issue.
Article from No Cut News:
Korean men seek prostitutes in the Philippines ‘Looking for an 11-year-old, will not use contraception’
[Interviewer] ‘South Korean men continue to seek out child prostitutes in Southeast Asia,’ these are the words of a United States State Department report. Embarrassing, no? I wish it weren’t true, but it has come out that there are a significant number of children living in the Philippines right now who were born of prostitution between Korean men and Filipina prostitutes. These children are called Korean-Filipino, or Kopino for short. We are becoming aware of a new movement among Kopinos to find their fathers in South Korea. We are speaking today with Lee Hyeon Sook, a spokesperson for Tacteen Tomorrow, a civic group working with this issue.
So, the children of Korean men and Filipina women are now looking for their fathers, how did this happen?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Our organization had been contacted repeatedly by an international group called Eta Philippines. They were saying that the Kopino problem had become very serious and asked us to come to the Philippines to report on the situation. So we went and saw that the situation is indeed serious. It looked like no one was working on this problem, so we decided to kind of ring an alarm bell and try to get Koreans to take responsibility. We thought that we could at least help these children find their parents, so we started to help them in their search.
[Interviewer]About how many children would you say there are who were born from Korean men and Filipina prostitutes?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] There is no exact figure, but typically the number of children is estimated to be about 10,000.
[Interviewer] Is there a particular kind of man who would do such an act: father a child, then leave without taking any responsibility?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] There is a wide variety in the kind of men who do this. The most common situation is where the man went to the Philippines for tourism, slept with a prostitute, and then fathered the child. Another common scenario is where the men visit the Philippines on business, have a woman there as a kind of mistress, then father a child with her. Unfortunately, there are also situations where Koreans studying abroad in the Philippines have a relationship that leads to a child.
[Interviewer] They were studying abroad there?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes. They meet a girl and begin what seems like a romantic relationship, but it can be unclear if it is prostitution or dating. Anyway, they have a relationship, father a child, and then either leave knowing they are abandoning the child or leave without ever knowing the woman was pregnant.
[Interviewer] Whether they were ignorant and just left or knowingly abandoned the children, in any case, now there are 10,000 children from these kind of relationships. You mentioned that there were many cases where the men went to the Philippines as tourists.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] There are many men who go on golf trips or package tours and then end up visiting prostitutes.
[Interviewer] Do you mean that prostitution can be part of the golf package tour?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, it seems that men hear about these tours through the internet or word of mouth and then find the girls through their guides once they arrive in the country.
[Interviewer] So for them it’s golf during the day and then prostitutes at night?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] That can be the case, there are also situations where the men bring the women along as escorts during the day, visiting Korean restaurants and shopping malls. I have even been hearing that there are so many of these couples in Korean restaurants that Koreans who live permanently in the Philippines avoid bringing their children to such places during the day.
[Interviewer] You’re saying it’s too obvious during the day?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, parents of children stay away from the restaurants since you can often see men bringing in two or three girls at a time and buying meals for them.
[Interviewer] Girls you say? How young are they?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Girls around the age of 15 or 16.
[Interviewer] So you are saying that the Korean men look in particular for young girls among the prostitutes in the Philippines?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, that’s correct.
[Interviewer] So there is evidence of that now, hmm. But then how did it happen that they are fathering children there?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] They don’t really use contraception there. That was the situation when I visited the Philippines for a report about six years ago. I hear that the same situation exists today and the Korean men prefer not to use contraception.
[Interviewer] Do they demand that the prostitutes do that?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, so these days when advocates for Kopinos come and talk to me, they say that it may be hard to tell Korean men to stop visiting prostitutes in the Philippines, but please if you could educate them before they arrive that they should use contraception.
[Interviewer] Who was the youngest prostitute you have seen in the Philippines?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Among the prostitutes I have met, the youngest was 11.
[Interviewer] 11? That makes her the same age as a student in the fifth grade, 11?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, she was about the age of sixth grade, maybe 12 years old. And what really shocked us was that she said she didn’t use contraception. But the situation is such that most prostitutes get health problems after working for some time, so customers seek out younger girls with little sexual experience also as a way to have safer sex.
[Interviewer] Otherwise they might have sexually transmitted diseases, you mean?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, that would be the reason.
[Interviewer] So they would ask for a younger girl.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Or they may also offer more money for a woman with less sexual experience. There was one time when we met with a female victim who had been recommended by one of her friends to a Korean man. The man ended up not paying her the originally agreed amount. Later, when I visited this woman, she said that she had negative feelings about all Koreans and didn’t want to meet with me, saying she hated Koreans.
[Interviewer] And the Philippines is a Catholic country, so that it strictly forbids abortions. That must also be a reason why there are more and more Kopinos.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes.
[Interviewer] So then these children are victims, suffering through no fault of their own. How do most of them live?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Most of the children who are involved in prostitution live in slums. When we went to visit the Kopinos, we saw that they were living in very difficult situations, where all of their sisters were also involved in prostitution. The father would work as a cleaner in the brothel where his daughters also worked, there were many people like that who lived and worked near nightclubs.
When these girls became pregnant, it was not possible for them to continue working as prostitutes. Their children, born into a world where it was normal, would also grow up to be prostitutes.
[Interviewer] Is there anything we can do to stop this problem? There must be something we can do here in South Korea. Telling men, well not all men, just the small fraction who do these things…
[Lee Hyeon Sook] It is important to keep in mind that our country is unusual in that it is an exporter of prostitutes, transit country for trafficking in women, and a destination for trafficked women, it’s a very complicated situation. Most countries that are destinations for trafficked women, which are typically developed countries, will send members of their police force to the country of origin to investigate the source and then give any relevant information to the local authorities for prosecution.
There is also a movement to coordinate investigations of these crimes through international organizations such as Interpol. Of course, it is up to the Philippine government to take the first steps in this process.
[Interviewer] But we also should do something.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] We should add our voice as well. We also need to make some serious changes in our culture’s view of this issue.
[Interviewer] So you are saying that you began to help Kopinos find their Korean fathers as a kind of wake up call to the nation. But when it comes to men who commit such an act and then abandon the mother, are you able to ever find them?
[Lee Hyeon Sook] It’s very difficult. There are some Filipina women who register their marriage officially, but the process of registration in the Philippines is very different from here. But when a woman has an idea of where the father is, we use the services of a law firm to start looking them up.
[Interviewer] So they might have a picture of the man or some idea of what company they were working for when they came to the Philippines.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] Yes, there are cases like that.
[Interviewer] I hope they are able to find some of the fathers.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] They’ve got to.
[Interviewer] During our broadcast, we’ve received many messages (from our audience) that say it’s very shameful. Even as we have been conducting this interview I have felt my face flush with embarrassment.
[Lee Hyeon Sook] And what hurts me the most is the knowledge that these kind of abandonments go on in our own country as well. This is a problem with our culture that we need to change.
[Interviewer] Good luck with your work. That brings us to the end of our interview.
Comments from Daum:
These men are absolute garbage, they are bringing shame to our country
oh, how embarrassing
12 years old? And they don’t use contraceptives? Put the names and faces of these saekki on buses and in subway stations. It would be a public service to let us point out these perverts
What is Yoon Chang-jung up to these days? Remembering his good times in America with a trip to the Philippines?
They are worried about STDs and don’t like use contraception so they use children??? what insanity. This country is just crazy when it comes to sex, I really hate it.
these bastards..the only way they are going to come to their senses is if a gang in the Philippines kidnaps them and sells their organs
As a Korean man, I believe that we should publicly execute these filthy bastards
just thinking about those beasts in human form returning to Korea and then pretending to be loyal to their families…
we should cut their dicks off
they may think that they can simply put the tears behind them and live in peace, but heaven remembers everything…
You have to go overseas to spread your seed? absolute filth
Kopinos must be inheriting the bloodline of the New Frontier Party, what an embarrassing situation
looks like the spirit of those who collaborated with Japan is still alive within our people
11-year-old girls…the mens’ brains must be located below their waistlines
there are a lot of men in my neighborhood who go on golf vacations in southeast Asia. Their wives should start being suspicious
When I went to the Philippines for my honeymoon I saw a lot of middle aged Korean men who were there for sex tourism. They must have told their family back home they were going on a business trip. It was shocking
going overseas to have sex with foreign prostitutes is really shameful, what do you think you’re doing? And you don’t let them use contraception? these disgusting bastards~ these children you’re fathering, aren’t they your children? does it mean anything to you that these children will live their entire sad lives not knowing who their father is? cross the hallway and take a look at your children asleep in their beds. Imagine that they had a terrible childhood. if you’re going to do such things overseas, at least use contraception. This is really shameful for our nation…
It seems it is mainly the men who spread STDs in our country. What are they doing to pitiful children in a poor country?! I’m enraged.”
reveal their identities, if you aren’t going to take responsiblity then you shouldn’t spread your seed.
To donate to Kopino child support programs, contact the Eastern Social Welfare Society.
For further information about helping Kopino children find their fathers, please visit the website of Tacteen, the civic group profiled in this article which is dedicated to outreach and education related to sexual health and the exploitation of children.