The term Kopino is derived from Korean-Filipino; its connotation, however, is a negative one- it refers to the children of Filipina Korean comfort women with Koreans who have visited the country as tourists or on short business trips.
Often forced into prostitution, the women are not much more than girls- and that’s why the topic is so disturbing- and, perhaps, why there hasn’t been enough news coverage on it.
That many of the girls are left pregnant and alone, unable to support themselves or their families, is another controversial issue, and one that a few groups have been trying to address. The Wall Street Journal recently featured a special shelter for the Kopinos in Manila, set up in 2006 by Son Bum-sik.
In Cebu City, the Kopino Foundation, Inc. was established in 2009 by local Korean businessman Yoon Ji Hyun to help the plight of the children; he estimates that there are around 10,000 Kopinos in the Philippines, mostly located in Quezon City.
“Their fathers just leave them and we love these Korean children. They have Korean blood running in their veins,” (Source)
A Korea-based non-profit organization also exists to provide aid to the Kopinos: the Daejeon Migrant Workers Support Center, which also has a branch in Manila, offers various social services and outreach programs for both the children and their abandoned, usually unwed, mothers.
The plight of the Kopino recently made headlines when a paternity case was won by two Philippine-based Kopinos, based on DNA tests and other evidence. The father, whose identity has not been disclosed, has been ordered to provide child support to the children.
To find out how you can help the Kopino, visit the Kopino Family Foundation on Facebook.