China: North Korean Women Refugees Forced into Sexual Exploitation
Monday, May 21, 2012 3:00 PM

North Korean women seeking a better life try to escape to China. However, upon arrival many find that instead of freedom, they have been secretly sold into slavery.

North Korean women make up an estimated 70 percent of the defectors from North Korea to China. According to Kim Sang-hun, the director of the Database Center for North Korean Human Rights, an estimated 20,000 to 30,000 women from North Korea are entrapped in some form of slavery in China. Kim Sang-hun says most North Korean women defecting to China are forced into sexual slavery. This may include forced marriage, forced work in “chat rooms” selling telephone and Internet sex, or working in “massage” establishments. Frank Jannuzi, head of the Washington D.C. office of Amnesty International describes these North Korean human rights abuses as, “a modern day form of slavery where you’re being sold into a forced situation for a price.” 

Kim Tae-woo, president of the Korean Institute for National Unification, said the market for women in China may explain the high numbers of female defectors. If caught by Chinese officials, women are sent back to North Korea to face further imprisonment. Kim Tae-woo predicts the number of female defectors will only continue to increase.

Compiled from: Kirk, Donald, North Korean women sold into 'slavery' in China, The Christian Science Monitor (11 May 2012).