The Lai Dai Han are the descendants of Vietnamese women who were forcibly raped by South Korean soldiers during the Vietnam War. Currently, there are over 30,000 Lai Dai Han children of more than 800 victims which are still alive. Many of these young Vietnamese girls were kidnapped, sold and forced into sexual slavery during the war.
The Lai Dai Han often face social and economic discrimination due to their ‘mixed’ ethnicity, as many of the children were not taught how to read or write, and many did not have access to basic health or education services. Due to these reasons, many of the Lai Dai Han children have been excluded by the Vietnamese society to this day, as well as been living in acute poverty as of recent reports.
The Lai Dai Han victims have been through atrocities during the war, and they still carry the scars of their assault until this very day. These days, many of the Lai Dai Han merely seek for an apology from the Korean government, that has yet to formally recognize or apologize for the sexual violence committed by its soldiers during the war.
By refusing to do so, the South Korean Government is preserving the injustice caused to the Vietnamese victims of rape and their children.
Moreover, South Korea’s Ministry of Defense sent a letter to some of the survivors last year, 2019, “saying it has no record of any civilian killings carried out by its military in Vietnam and there needs to be a joint investigation by both governments in tandem to check the facts, but that this is currently unachievable”.
While the Lai Dai Han’s request for an apology from the South Korean government remains unanswered, the Lai Dai Han community also seeks the government’s help in finding their birth parents, with some wishing to be recognized as Koreans and gain Korean citizenship.
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