U.S. Officials Meet Former Sex Slaves

Two women who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II recently visited the White House and State Department to testify about their ordeal.

Lee Ock-seon (87) and Kang Il-chul (86) are among a handful of survivors of the atrocity. It was the first time officials of the White House and the State Department met the victims.

The two women arrived in the U.S. to coincide with the first anniversary of monuments in their honor in Glendale, California and New Jersey.

On July 30, they spoke at the White House with Paulette Aniskoff, the director of the Office of Public Engagement, for about two-and-a-half hours. The two women asked for the U.S. government's help in their quest for justice before all the elderly victims are dead.

Lee Ock-seon (front left) and Kang Il-chul (front right), who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, pose for a photo with Paulette Aniskoff (back left), the director of the Office of Public Engagement, and other official at the White House on Wednesday, in this photo tweeted by Aniskoff. Lee Ock-seon (front left) and Kang Il-chul (front right), who were forced into sexual slavery by the Japanese Imperial Army in World War II, pose for a photo with Paulette Aniskoff (back left), the director of the Office of Public Engagement, and other official at the White House on Wednesday, in this photo tweeted by Aniskoff.

Kim Dong-suk of Korean American Civic Empowerment, quoted an unidentified White House official as promising to pay attention to the issue.

Aniskoff on Monday tweeted a photo with the two women saying, "Met with two brave Korean 'comfort women', Ok-seon Lee and Il-chul Kang, last week; their stories are heartbreaking..."

On July 31, the two met with officials of the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the State Department. Their visits had been arranged by Rep. Mike Honda, who played a leading role in the U.S. House of Representatives passing a resolution on the victims in 2007.

englishnews@chosun.com / Aug. 06, 2014 09:30 KST