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A harsh punishment is a must

Mar 26,2020
The revelation of a sex trafficking operation through an instant messaging app has caused a social uproar. The case, in which pornographic materials were illegally produced and distributed in exchange for money, underscores a vulgar side of Korea. The predators and organizers must be hunted down and punished so that such crimes can never take place in this country again.

The Seoul police unveiled the identity and face of the alleged ringleader — 25-year-old Cho Ju-bin — in a rare move before he is proven guilty. Cho lured victims by posting generously-paying part-time work and coercing them to tape pornographic videos after threatening to reveal their nude pictures. Some of them, including children, were referred to as slaves and were forced into violent sex crimes. His horrendous crime must be justly punished.

Cyber sex crimes have evolved quickly. The group moved from one paid messaging app to another to evade a crackdown by police. The case drew a special order from President Moon Jae-in to investigate everyone involved. The clampdown must not be a one-time event. Cyber sex crimes persist because punishments are too light. Although the prison term for the production of pornography involving a minor is a minimum of five years, four out of five people charged walk out after paying fines or receiving a jail suspension. The Supreme Court must make a precedent by handing down a legitimate sentence.

The National Assembly, which has been dilly-dallying on related bills, has finally moved. But despite civilian petitioning, the related bills failed to reflect key provisions such as the creation of investigation teams exclusively dedicated to cyber sex crimes and international investigations. During a subcommittee review, lawmakers causally referred to digital sex material production and distribution as a pastime of youth. Lawmakers must be shamed for their outdated views and come up with more fundamental measures in drawing up the laws.

Law enforcement agencies also must demonstrate a strong determination to crack down on cyber sex crimes today so that no one can get away with sexual exploitation. It is the least they can do to comfort the victims.