From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwan Churches ask "Is it Sex Yet?"

From Worldwide Faith News <>
Date Mon, 03 Jun 2002 18:25:55 -0700

Taiwan Church News 2622, June 2, 2002
Reported by Lin Yi-shin, Translated and Rewritten by David

Women's Groups Refute Professor's Defense of "Assisted Exchange"

    Things which seem too abrupt when addressed in clear language
receive euphemistic names.   Recently Taiwan has adopted a
neologism from the commercial sex trade in Japan.  "Assisted
Exchange" has come to stand for the disturbing reality of sexual
intercourse between adult men
and girls under the age of 18.  The behavior has not changed, but
the name has. Everyone "knows" what the term means, but all seem
to wink at it.  Recently professor Ho Chun-le, of the Sex and
Gender Center at National Central University, posted an article
on the web defending the term and
saying it was not equivalent to sexual intercourse.  Several
local women's groups held a joint press conference to air their
    The groups, experienced in counseling sexually active girls
and victims of sexual abuse, included the Garden of Hope
Foundation, the Association to End Childhood Prostitution, and
the Roman Catholic Good Shepherd House. Their main point of
contention is that "Assisted Exchange" is in no way
different from out and out sexual intercourse.  It includes many
acts that fall into the category of "foreplay" without a clear
division from coitus. Professor Ho's point of view is confusing
the argument. The groups do not oppose the Professor as much as
they decisively stand against the involvement of young people in
"Assisted Exchange."
    Professor Ho was at the press conference, and offered a
rebuttal immediately.  She said that in discussions at the Sex
and Gender Center the term "Assisted Exchange" had to be dealt
with because when one types its four Chinese characters into a
web search, one directed into areas which
are prosecutable under current law.  "Assisted Exchange" in a
search connects one directly to sites having to do with juvenile
sexual intercourse.  Those sites put one in violation of the law
regarding sex
with children and youth, and makes one liable to a five year
sentence.  Her argument of the difference in meaning has to do
with the way web searches work.
    Lee Le-hun, from the Association to End Childhood
Prostitution, takes exception to this argument.  In Japan, Taiwan
and Korea the term "Assisted Exchange" means sexual intercourse.
It originated in the sex trade in Japan as a way to allow male
patrons of brothels to escape prosecution for sex with underage
prostitutes.  Japan's legal confusion puts children into the
category of sexual commodities in the sex trade there. Semantics
aside, there is no difference in practice.  Therefore, she says,
Ho's position results in confusion here.
    Sister Therese Thong from the Good Shepherd Sisters has
counseled girls who have been involved in "Assisted Exchange",
and sees the practice as yielding long term serious harm to
youth.  Some results are sexually transmitted diseases,
pregnancy, abortion and even suicide.  If there are to be social
values, the Professor's wordplay is not helpful. The age of girls
recruited to offer "Assisted Exchange" services is so young that
they are not responsible for their own opinions yet.
    Chi Huei-rong, another women's activist, suggested that
Professor Ho herself experience some work in "Assisted Exchange"
before writing in theory again.
    Professor Ho responded that her critics are off base and
suggests that they have responded to the topic of her argument
without examining its details.  She wonders if they have read it
at all.

For more information:  Therese Thong
                        Garden of Hope:
                        Lee Le-hun:

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