The city of Brookhaven, Georgia, on Friday unveiled a statue dedicated to the "comfort women," becoming the first location in America's Deep South to install a controversial memorial to the women and young girls forced to work in Japan's wartime military brothels.

The Brookhaven statue is the latest in a growing worldwide movement by cities and towns to commemorate the victims. It comes after protests and intense pressure by the Japanese government and others who say there is no evidence that the military sexually enslaved the women before and during World War II.

Proponents of such statues in Japan and abroad have argued that they are not only about history, but also serve as an international symbol of violence against women and as a reminder of modern human rights issues.