Up to 200,000 women were sexually enslaved by the Japanese Imperial Army from 1932 until the end of World War II. These women were euphemistically known as “Comfort Women.”
In August 1991, Hak-soon Kim became the first woman in South Korea to testify on her experience as a sexual slave. Women all over Asia followed her in speaking out. In most cases they broke over 50 years of silence in which they had suffered isolation, shame, mental and physical ill health and for the most part, extreme poverty.
The women have asked for full reparations and apology from the Japanese Government and to date, are still waiting for both. Their voices have mobilized and inspired a global movement demanding that crimes of sexual violence be redressed.
The selected photographs were made for Amnesty International in March 2005 on a trip to South Korea and the Philippines with researcher, Suki Nagra.