Prostitution ruling nothing new for USFK troops
YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — U.S. Forces Korea officials said Tuesday there has been no specific push to alert troops to an Oct. 14 presidential order that makes soliciting a prostitute a chargeable offense under Article 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
“Solicitation has been unlawful as a violation of USFK Regulation 27-5, and it was prosecuted under Article 92 — Failure to Obey a Lawful Order or Regulation,” said USFK spokesman Dave Oten. “The new specifications of Article 134 have the advantage of providing consistency both across the military services as well as assignments overseas or in the continental United States.”
The issue was raised, however, on Tuesday during an all-day, semi-annual training session in which 8th U.S. Army soldiers are trained on personal conduct on and off duty.
During a briefing for 8th Army’s Headquarters and Headquarters Company, hundreds of soldiers were reminded of the recent change. “That makes going to a house of ill repute illegal,” the battalion commander, Lt. Col. David L. Ward, told the unit.
At a senior leadership briefing the same day, officers were reminded to make sure their soldiers know how much trouble they can get into just for standing inside a bar that supports prostitution. If there’s a video camera in the front, bars on the windows and a pretty girl, “you’re probably in the wrong place,” the officers were told.
Sgt. 1st Class Thurman Hogen, who works in the engineer command on Yongsan, said he believed the change was good because it emphasized family values. He said Tuesday’s forum was the main way that most soldiers would learn about the change.
“We also get blasted with e-mails,” he said.
Still, Spc. Christian Borges and Pfc. Glen Perryman, both from the headquarters unit, said they knew little about the change other than talk among friends. But they too felt as if the change was more about clarification and less about a new policy.
Sgt. 1st Class Glen Harrison, one of 8th Army’s equal opportunity advisers, agreed. “It cuts out any gray areas,” he said, adding that soliciting a prostitute carried penalties before the military justice system change.
When Harrison addressed the soldiers in the afternoon, he asked how many had heard of the change. Only a few raised their hands. Then he asked how many had heard television spots denouncing prostitution and human trafficking. More hands raised. Had anyone heard about the health, social and career dangers from solicitation? Even more hands went up.
“The awareness is out there,” he said.