South Korean women protest over hidden sex cameras

Tens of thousands of women gathered in Seoul on Saturday calling for a crackdown on spy cam pornography, in one of the country’s biggest ever female-only protests.

“Those men who film such videos! Those who upload them! Those who watch them! All of them should be punished sternly!” they chanted. Image:AFP

Perpetrators film or photograph women with hidden cameras in public spaces. Although distributing pornography is illegal in South Korea, the videos and pictures are shared widely online. Organisers say women live in constant fear of being photographed or filmed without their knowledge.

Carrying placards and banners with messages like “My life is not your porn”, the women were mostly teenagers or in their 20s – seen as the main victims of the hidden cameras. The women covered their faces with masks, hats and sunglasses as instructed by the organisers. Demonstrators said around 55,000 women took part, although police put the figure at around 20,000.

The number of hidden camera crimes rose from 1,100 in 2010 to more than 6,500 in 2017. Since 2004, the country has mandated that all smart phones should make loud shutter noises when they take a photo or video to make people aware of their use.

But apps can be used to silence the noise, and perpetrators are also using miniature cameras hidden in walls, bags, shoes or toilets.

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