Carmen's experience as a comfort woman in Los Baños was not an uncommon one for southeast Asian women during World War II. The system of brothels began in 1932. In the early stages, volunteer Japanese prostitutes were used until Japan's military expansion made it difficult to get volunteers. At this point, the military turned to coercing women in areas of Japanese occupation to join the system. The majority of the women were taken from Korea or China. It was believed that the risk of a Japanese soldier running into a sister or friend in a comfort station would have devastating effects, so comfort women - at least during the war - were exclusively recruited from outside Japan.
Korean comfort women who survived and were protected in Lameng, Yunnan, September 3, 1945. From the US National Archives.
The comfort system was devised to prevent venereal diseases and rape while staving off discontent among the Japanese soldiers that might lead to rebellion or espionage. ...