Comfort Women 

On “Comfort Women”


“Comfort woman” (ianfu) is a historical term referring to women who were forced to provide sexual services to Japanese soldiers at military brothels or “comfort stations” established by the Japanese military in its occupied territories between 1932 and 1945. “Comfort women” were taken from all over Asia and the Pacific, with Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Chinese, Filipina, and Indonesian women comprising the vast majority. Many women in Korea and Taiwan were deceived by government-licensed recruiters about the nature of the work they would be doing at the frontlines. Once brought to the “comfort stations,” the women were held in debt bondage. In the Philippines and Indonesia, the military often kidnapped women or ordered local leaders to provide them. Many victims were adolescents. Experts estimate that the number of “comfort women” was in the tens or hundreds of thousands.

(Adapted from


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