Surviving South Korea's house of horrors

Survivors of the notorious Brothers Home describe being grabbed off the streets, abused and held against their will.

[Richard Smith/Al Jazeera]
[Richard Smith/Al Jazeera]

Warning: This article contains content, including descriptions of sexual violence, that some readers may find disturbing.

South Korea’s infamous Brothers Home welfare centre was supposed to provide shelter and care for the homeless. Instead, it was a house of horrors where inmates were illegally confined, brutally beaten, raped — and even killed.

Located in the southern port city of Busan, it operated between 1976 and 1987 under the then authoritarian government’s policy of “purifying the streets”, known as ordinance No. 410. In the lead up to the 1986 Asian Games and 1988 Olympic Games, the government was gearing up to showcase the country to the world and wanted "vagrants" removed from the streets and out of sight.

But only 10 percent of the thousands of inmates at Brothers Home were homeless according to a 1987 investigation by local prosecutors. None of the nine survivors Al Jazeera’s 101 East interviewed had lived on the streets.

They are now calling for members of the family who ran Brothers Home to be extradited from Australia to face a Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s investigation into the horrific abuses at the home.

Watch our story as we track down those in Sydney, Australia, who were allegedly behind the atrocities committed at Brothers Home.

Source: Al Jazeera