Fight for Freedom screens sex trafficking documentary ‘Save My Seoul’


Sophie Mann/The Daily Northwestern

Fight for Freedom screens “Save My Seoul,” a documentary about sex trafficking in South Korea. About 100 students attended the event at Harris Hall.

Jee Young Lee, Reporter

Fight for Freedom, a student organization that advocates against human slavery in Chicago, hosted an early screening of the documentary “Save My Seoul” on Thursday night in Harris Hall.

Directed by Jason Lee, “Save My Seoul” is a documentary about prostitution and sex trafficking in Seoul, South Korea, by Jubilee Project, a nonprofit that produces films on social issues. The documentary explores the issue of the sex trade in Seoul through direct interviews and hidden recordings.

The event started with a brief introduction by Lee.

“I hope that this event is the beginning of a movement to fight against this injustice,” Lee said.

He said sex trafficking is the greatest injustice of our time, citing statistics of 27 million people who are victims of sex trafficking worldwide.

He also mentioned that the version he presented Thursday is the eighth version and is a rough cut, and he foresees the completion of the film in the spring of 2015.

The film focuses on the stories of Esther and Crystal, two teenage girls in Seoul, who became involved in prostitution due to the absence of alternate means of survival. The documentary unfolds as they reveal their past experience working in brothels to earn money. The film also discusses the history of sex trafficking in Seoul, which has burgeoned since the 1960s as South Korea worked to redeem a war-torn economy.

The documentary tackles the attitudes of ordinary citizens and authority figures regarding the rampant nature of prostitution in Korea, suggesting that most people refuse to talk about the issue despite its urgency.

“I think what we need to begin with is just an open dialogue,” Lee said as a possible solution for deep-rooted sexual slavery in Korea.

Lee said acknowledgment of such atrocities is a huge step for Korea. He also said we need a “paradigm shift” and we should reflect on the way we think about women and reinforce the moral values we must maintain as humans. He then extended the discussion to the world beyond Korea, saying this is a universal issue that we must all care about.

Medill senior Yu Sun Chin, president of Fight for Freedom and the host of the event, hopes to continue to “inform students about the issue in a nuanced way.”

She said she wants to ensure students do not feel hopeless about the situation and to remind them of the skills and experiences they have to reach out to those in need through means such as counseling.

“I want to continue to help students understand that the issue is very relevant to us,” she said.

She said Fight for Freedom is currently working to partner with non-governmental organizations on initiatives to strengthen the fight against human slavery in Chicago and beyond.

Eunice Lee, a Medill freshman from Seoul said the documentary enhanced her awareness of the issue.

“Living in Korea, I knew that this issue existed, but I was very similar to many other interviewees in the film in that I didn’t know anyone who was associated with sex trafficking,” she said.

She also said she was glad to see the support the Northwestern community had for the cause, noting the members of the audience who were interested in finding ways they could help.

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