ExEAS Teaching Unit
Prostitution in East Asia
Grace Mitchell
Department of Sociology
College of Staten Island, CUNY
This unit, featuring a student reading and film, provides students with a greater understanding of prostitution in a globalized and militarized context and its impact on both society and individuals in East Asia.  These materials are useful in fomenting discussion of the word “prostitution” and its different connotations in East Asia and the West and its impact on East Asia.  The unit can be used in classes on social problems and/or sociology of children as well as in any courses that explore the themes of prostitution, gender, and sexuality.

Student Reading and Discussion Questions
Montgomery, Heather. “Children, Prostitution, and Identity: A Case Study from a Tourist Resort in Thailand,” pp. 139-150 in Global Sex Workers: Rights, Resistance, and Redefinition, ed. by Kamala Kempadoo and Jo Doezema.  New York: Routledge, 1998. 

Questions for discussion or journal writing:

1.  According to Montgomery:
  • How do Western constructs of “children” and “prostitution” differ from the perspectives of the Thai interviewees in Montgomery’s studies?
  • In what ways have Western media accounts of child prostitution in Thailand obscured the agency of the participants in Montgomery’s study?
2.  Compare Montgomery’s argument to the statement made by Adul de Leon, the late activist from the Gabriela network of the Philippines: “You Western feminists spend all your time arguing about whether or not prostitution can be a choice.”

The Women Outside: Korean Women and the U.S. Military. directed by J.T. Takagi and Hye Jung Park. Third World Newsreel, 1995. 60 minutes.  Available on VHS for rental ($90) and purchase ($225) from Third World Newsreel (www.twn.org).  Study guide available. 
Documenting the lives of women who work in the South Korean military brothels and clubs where over 27,000 women “service” the 37,000 American soldiers stationed in the most militarized region of the world.  The Women Outside follows their provocative journey from the outskirts of Seoul to the inner cities of America.  A testament of endurance and survival, it raises questions about U.S. military policy, South Korean governmental policy and their common dependence on the sexual labor of women.  The Women Outside is a film that challenges the U.S. Military presence in Korea, and the role women are forced to play in global geopolitics. (Abstract from Third World Newsreel.)

For more information, see the review by Katharine H.S. Moon available from the Asian Educational Media Service: http://www.aems.uiuc.edu/searchresults_reviewavailable.html?-

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