December 18th, 2013
04:19 PM ET

South Korea's 'juicy bars': one woman's story of slavery and escape

Women who work in bars close to U.S. military bases in South Korea are often forced to do far more than serve juice. The U.S. military is warning its soldiers that the staff, often trafficked from the Philippines, are modern day slaves. But the bars are still in business. CNN correspondent Paula Hancocks spoke to one woman who managed to escape.

soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Keith

    The girls that service the soldiers in the States or at foreign bases are not there because everything was wonderful where they came from. They were often escaping something worse. I am not saying it is right or defending it I am just saying that things are not so simple.

    December 18, 2013 at 11:38 pm | Reply
    • jay

      Wow Keith, such a stupid comment. Things are never simple when you want some wiggle space, eh? I guess you or one of your family members have visited such juicy bars.

      December 19, 2013 at 9:17 am | Reply
      • Keith

        I have done a lot of things but I never picked up any girls at a juicy bar. I preferred the village girls. I made my statement out of a life time of experience and reality. I was a soldier 40 years ago, I was in Vietnam for almost 3 years. What guided your statement, some make believe PC world?

        What I said is true, if you want to talk to me start with the truth.

        December 19, 2013 at 1:41 pm |
      • jay

        So I was right judging your character.

        December 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm |
    • Janette

      I grew up in the Philippines while you were in Vietnam, and most of these girls are not escaping something worse, they are trying to support their families. The Philippines is poor and jobs are scarce. They go because they have no choice.

      December 20, 2013 at 10:30 pm | Reply
      • Keith

        That was the point of my comment. I don't see how you can say it wasn't worse if they had no choice. I never used those girls myself but no matter what folks have to do to survive I respect them. They would not leave home if things were great at home.

        December 21, 2013 at 4:51 am |
  2. Robbie

    I live and work here in South Korea (as a teacher) and the comment made by the South Korean Justice Ministry saying that its very difficult to track down those abusing the system, is a lie. It's in every major city and you see it day after day. I can take you to bars, massage parlors, and singing clubs where this is all run by Korean men and women using Filipino, Thai, Chinese, and even Korean women! The Filipino and Thai women stick out of course and you can see them at the banks with their boss making transfers, etc. Some of them come here with the idea that they're going to make a lot money or find a husband, and yes, some have no idea what they're getting themselves into. All you have to do is talk to them. They'll tell you....

    December 19, 2013 at 3:34 am | Reply
  3. Zak

    I was stationed at Osan in the early 90's. There are many "juicy bars" there with many of the woman working there because they have no where else to go. I spoke to a couple of them and knew a guy that was married to a Korean that used to be a "juicy girl". He had to buy her from the bar in order to get her out of that life. The story I got was that the girl went to college and her parents paid for it. But when she failed out her parents disowned her which is a great dishonor. In order to pay the parents back the "juicy girls" would work at the bar and take years to pay thier parents back in order to come out of dishonor. Unfortunately it took many years to pay the parents back and the girls were definately exploited. Once a year the BASE COMMANDER (yes i said that) would go downtown to the local "juicy bar" with the local Mafia leader and mayor of the city and have a "juicy girl" on both knees to support to the local economy and show the soldiers/airman that it was alright and acceptable behavior. So don't blame this all on the Korean Justice department for not doing anything they cannot do anything until behavior like i described here is taken care of.

    December 19, 2013 at 8:11 am | Reply
    • Barry

      Zak, that mat have been true in the early 90s...but it's no where near like that now. I just left Osan...I was stationed there for many years, retired there, and worked as a contractor there for the last 5 years. This story fails to tell everything and squarely puts much of the blame on the US military. This report is a few days ago...where's the part of the report that says some US military commanders have taken the lead where the Korean government should.
      Things in Songtan are definitely nothing like they used to be.

      December 19, 2013 at 5:03 pm | Reply
      • Pat

        Barry, great article.

        January 8, 2014 at 11:12 am |
  4. Zak

    oh and not to mention walking out the front gate of the base and an elderly woman walking up to you asking if you wanted a young girl....

    December 19, 2013 at 8:12 am | Reply
    • Pat

      That must have been Songtan Sally. She has been around for many many years asking everyone, including contractor, civilians, and on occasion women the same thing... She even have a video or two on YouTube

      January 8, 2014 at 11:04 am | Reply
      • Tim Park

        Song Tan Sally was just one of many that would solicit "business". And they came in all different shapes and sizes, not to mention approaches.

        April 22, 2019 at 9:18 am |
  5. koko

    The same procedure is in tourist Cyprus, UE country! Women form Eastern Europe are forced to carry out these kind of work. They are told that they will work as a barmaids, a rest of the story is the same.

    December 19, 2013 at 11:30 am | Reply
  6. John

    These bars are located in cities all over Korea, emphasizing US military bases frames this issue in misleading way.

    December 19, 2013 at 6:03 pm | Reply
  7. Mike

    This story while it has some truth to it doesn't go into how other non-western service members such as contractors, the Korean society, men and government play into the entire picture. Are there "juicy bars" outside of military installations within Korea, yes. Do military service members engage with some of the ladies that work there, yes. After living in Korea for 3 yrs both in a more rural community and then in Seoul, I can honestly say that while service members do go to bars that have "juicy girls" it is more common now that they are staying away from the locations. However, is it more common for Western contractors and Korean men to participate in these activities now more than service members, because the Korean government doesnt prosecute them to any real degree. USFK prosecutes service members for engaging in these activities severly and continues to add locations to the Off-limits list. For this to be completely solved the society needs to change. Korean police need to patrol known areas and the Korean legal system needs to take a tougher stance on it for both westerners and Koreans a like.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:43 am | Reply
    • uijeongbu joe

      These juicy bars are filled with 99% US soldiers. The locals have their own setup.

      December 20, 2013 at 9:59 pm | Reply
    • bjohnson

      That is not entirely true as USFK applies to all personal including contractors since they are SOFA sponsored and could cause their company to lose a contract and them out of a job and very well barred from any base.

      February 15, 2014 at 11:50 pm | Reply
  8. Chelsea

    This is slander. Not every girl is a slave, some know exactly what they are doing. Not every bar is a juicy bar. I work in the bar showed in the picture and I am an American. You spinning this to make it look like the worst.

    December 22, 2013 at 1:47 am | Reply
    • Eric

      True. Also, these girls who are slaves are being enslaved by the Korean bar owners. This article should be more about what the Korean bar owners are doing, rather than the military. It is much easier to try to make them look bad, than actually do an interview of the bar owners. I would like to see interview about them and also the promoters.

      December 23, 2013 at 8:23 pm | Reply
    • Dee

      I totally agree with Chelsea. Most of these girls do know what they're doing. You can't possibly think that the girls who do go back home don't tell others what is expected when they get to the bar. Of course they tell them! My parents are Filipino but I was born and raised in the U.S. and currently serving in the U.S. Army. I've seen many service members who have been decieved by these women.

      January 15, 2014 at 10:00 am | Reply
  9. Winnie

    uh, what about the ill behavior of these men? Why is it always the victim's fault?

    January 8, 2014 at 4:21 am | Reply
    • Pat

      No one is blaming the victims. There are many that are forced into this kind of life style and it's not fair!!! But again there is always 2 sides or any coin. While some are forced in Korea, there are many looking for American husbands and they go into this type of life with other goals in mind. They provide a service willing with full knowledge of what they are doing. If ever go to Korea, take a survey of the girls working in these juicy bars and you will be surprised of the results you receive. Ask them why they do what they do...why not go to other countries to work...

      January 8, 2014 at 11:09 am | Reply
  10. ayhan

    it is not failure of capitalism.isnt it?
    if have no money ,you will die from hunger or sell your body or sell your body as worker.

    you cannot collect anything to eat because it was allready owned by a rich man 😀

    January 9, 2014 at 6:18 pm | Reply
  11. Kimchiyo

    Very interesting to read all the comments here.

    There are lot of juicy bars and women but that doesn't mean every woman who works there is a slave.
    People who work there know exactly what they do. Some of them might be really poor so working as a juicy girl would be necessary. And at the same time, there are still many women who would like to work there and enjoys making US soldiers buy drinks for them.

    January 14, 2014 at 1:32 am | Reply
    • Dee

      Yeap very interesting. I really hate seeing how many people think these ALL of these women are innocent. I don't know if you saw my response to Chelsea, but what you're saying is very true.

      January 15, 2014 at 10:05 am | Reply
  12. jale brooks

    Why not? It all sounds so bad and the military men and women, yes military women in the clubs. They are looking for a place to burn off steam and the juicy girls are just there. I seen guys and girls buy drinks, get nasty, and leave with girls. Now remember if it is anything it is news. They got to entertain us some how right? News! You know as well as I do this same thing happens in the USA. Wait we even have turned pole dancing into a exercise program in the states. Oh wait we have full naked clubs, semi naked clubs and bikini clubs in the states. Hmmmm Yes it is bad for the girls that get tricked, but as others have said not all are here unknowing.

    April 1, 2014 at 8:55 am | Reply
  13. Najet

    Hello I'm a girl from tunisia and Italy haf I'm looking for bar or hostess job and I live in ganagnam please if anyone who can help me to find that please send email to me or phone number thank you

    June 9, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Reply
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