Much like the drug cartels in South America – who manufacture, distribute, and perpetuate the sale of illegal drugs throughout the world – the online video ‘business’ of illegally filming, producing, uploading, and storing sexually explicit video clips and content has indeed become big business in South Korea. It’s as if they have formed their own sort of ‘cartel.’
They trade illegal sexual content digitally as a commodity. ‘Mass producers’ supply their illegal video clips to the uploader for a cheap price. The ‘uploaders,’ or consumers, purchase these videos and post them onto online storage sites, sometimes with even the victim’s information. Many people are buying and watching these videos without feeling guilty.
Online storage platforms, such as WeDisk, actually have an obligation to prevent the spread of illegal content, but they do not follow it. Rather than taking action in order to solve problem, the online storage platforms are in collusion with the cartels. Instead, they are participating in the crime for high returns obtained from those illegal videos. The online storage sites hire some uploaders or pay a high sum for their content. The storage platforms also protect the uploaders by giving fake information to the police who request personal information for their investigations.
Additionally, the storage platforms operate agencies, who delete illegal video content. However, the agencies remove the video after getting paid by victims who have hired them to delete the illegal videos. The agencies prolong the process on purpose to get more money from the victims. The platforms ignore requests from victims and don’t use ‘filtering technology,’ which is a more effective method to find the clips online.
According to DSO(Digital Sexual Crime Out, NGO), the reasons that the illegal sexual video industry is prevalent are its high returns and lenient punishment. A women’s studies scholar said the fundamental problem is that society regards women as only sexual objects based on a misogynistic viewpoint.
The police have formed a special investigation team for ferreting out the criminal cartels. Min Gab-ryong, Commissioner General of Korea National Police Agency, announced that the police arrested the owners of six online storage sites and arrested nine heavy-uploaders on October 22. However, these cartels will never be abandoned, unless stronger punishment is implemented. As soon as possible, stronger laws should be put in place to punish those who film, distribute, and consume illegal digital sexual content.