South Korean Victims of Digital Sex Crimes ‘Retraumatized’ by Poor Official Response: Report

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In South Korea, victims of digital sex crimes are expected to gather their own evidence for their cases and are left responsible for monitoring the internet for images and videos of themselves, reports The Insider, citing a  report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). Based on its study of victims, the report concluded that the country’s handling of digital sex crimes was “not sufficient” and might actually be retraumatizing victims. The report detailed three types of digital sex crimes in the country: the use of spy-cams on victims in public places like toilets and workplaces, footage taken consensually but leaked without permission, and faked or manipulated images, says Insider. Around 80 percent of victims of these digital sex crimes are women, says the report. About 98 percent of perpetrators were men.

The report also highlighted “major barriers to justice” faced by South Korean victims, including arbitrary decisions by prosecutors to drop many cases, and low sentences imposed by judges.   Only 2 percent of perpetrators convicted in 2019 were imprisoned, while the majority received fines or suspended sentences. According to the report, the inadequate official response causes a trauma “so deep it at times leads to suicide,” citing two examples. The HRW urged South Korea to create a commission to review the official approach to digital sex crimes and provide  more funding to services for victims. It also recommended increasing the number of women prosecutors and law enforcement agents.

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