Were Korean Girls Enslaved or Indentured into Military Brothels During Wwii?

46 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2022

Date Written: January 30, 2022


This paper empirically evaluates the two opposite representations of the pre-1945 Korean comfort women. Far exceeding the estimate advocated by contract view, the scale of mobilization as estimated using demographic information falls within the range proposed by enslavement view. Indicating one in every four conscriptions to be coercive, Bayesian inferences from testimonial evidence suggest that claims of forced enlistment were typically reliable, which is consistent with their occurrence being not random but correlated with conscriptional idiosyncrasies. Marrying ages plunged, and childbirths surged indicating the widespread fear of abduction in the early 1940s. Health measures suggest that the sex workers fared worse than the rest of the Korean population, which is consistent with slavery view.

Keywords: comfort women, military prostitution, WWII, colonial Korea

JEL Classification: J47, K12, K36, N15, N35, N45

Suggested Citation

Cha, Myung Soo, Were Korean Girls Enslaved or Indentured into Military Brothels During Wwii? (January 30, 2022). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4021598 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4021598

Myung Soo Cha (Contact Author)

Yeungnam University ( email )

280 Daehak-ro
Kyungsan, Kyungsan 38541
Korea, Republic of (South Korea)

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