WW2: Chinese and Malayan girls forcibly taken from Penang by the Japanese to work as ‘comfort girls’ for the troops. 1939-1945
Comfort women or comfort girls were women and girls forced into sexual slavery by the Imperial Japanese Army in occupied countries and territories before and during World War II. The name "comfort women" is a translation of the Japanese ianfu (慰安婦), a euphemism for "prostitutes."
Estimates vary as to how many women were involved, with most historians settling somewhere in the range 50,000–200,000; the exact numbers are still being researched and debated. Most of the women were from occupied countries, including Korea, China, and the Philippines.
Originally, the brothels were established to provide soldiers with voluntary prostitutes in order to reduce the incidence of wartime rape, a cause of rising anti-Japanese sentiment across occupied territories.
However, many women ended up being forced to work in the brothels against their own will. According to testimonies, some young women were abducted from their homes in countries under Imperial Japanese rule.
Japanese women were the first victims to be enslaved in military brothels and trafficked across Japan, Okinawa, Japan’s colonies and occupied territories, and overseas battlegrounds.
In many cases, local middlemen tasked with procuring prostitutes for the military lured women with promises of work in factories or restaurants.
In some cases propaganda advocated equity and the sponsorship of women in higher education.
Other enticements were false advertising for nursing jobs at outposts or Japanese army bases; once recruited, they were incarcerated in comfort stations both inside their nations and abroad.