The Constitutional Court of South Korea [official website] on Thursday upheld a law that punishes individual sex workers. The ruling came in response to a petition to overturn the anti-prostitution law, which was brought by a prostitute convicted under the law. The court found against the petitioner in a 6-3 ruling, calling prostitution “violent and exploitative in nature,” and that it therefore could not be non-coercive. A number of activist prostitutes have announced [Reuters report] that they plan to appeal the ruling, arguing that the 2004 law forbidding prostitution violates their right to work.
South Korea has dealt with a number of human rights issues recently. Earlier this month the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea passed [JURIST report] a resolution addressing the human rights situation in North Korea, which will fund civil activist groups and archive rights abuses committed in the north. The move came shortly after Human Rights Watch released [JURIST report] a report calling for the South Korean government to pass legislation that would promote human rights in North Korea. In December South Korea and Japan agreed [JURIST report] to a final resolution on the issue of “comfort women” who were forced to work in Japanese brothels during World War II. In September the Supreme Court of South Korea upheld [JURIST report] a law that forbids an unfaithful spouse from filing for divorce.