The Global Slavery Index 2018 estimates that there are 2,640,000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea). Men, women and children are subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking. Government oppression in the DPRK prompts many North Koreans to flee the country in ways that make them vulnerable to human trafficking in destination countries. Many of the estimated 10 000 North Korean women and girls who have migrated illegally to China to flee abuse and human rights violation are particularly vulnerable to trafficking. Some lure, drug, detain or kidnap North Korean women on their arrival, others offer jobs but subsequently force the women into prostitution, domestic service, or forced marriage. If found, Chinese authorities often repatriate victims back to the DPRK where they are subjected to harsh punishment including forced labour in labour camps or death.
Jang Mi Kyung left North Korea in 2008 to find a job in China. However, upon arrival she was sold and forced to marry a Chinese man against her will.
My name is Jang Mi Kyung. I left my home town in December, 2008. I was living with my mother but no father, we were very poor. So I decided to cross the river to work at a restaurant making 500 Yen (U$80) a month. I followed a man who was going to get me a job. But soon as I crossed the river, I found I was trapped and I couldn't work at a restaurant because I was North Korean. That man who brought me wanted to return and he needed money to get going, he paid by a Chinese Korean broker and had left. I didn't know what was going on that time, but, I was told to follow that man to a farm town in Heilongjiang Province. I was married forcefully to a Chinese man where there were only Chinese. I had to make money for my sick mother but had no chance there. Later I found that the man had paid 15,000(U$2,000) for me. Now I have no choice but to live as his sexual play mate. I can't go out. This is like Hell to me. I am now sick myself. After 6 month later I could understand their language a little. Then, one day, I fled from that place. I thought I couldn't live like this forever. I just got on a bus and came to Yanji where I luckily met a NK neighbor, who could give me help. She told me she wanted to go to S. Korea and asked me to go along. So I have decided to go to S. Korea. I would like to make money in S. Korea so I can feed my family in NK. I like to have freedom of my own. Please help me to get going to S. Korea, Please! Thank you.
Narrative provided by Escaping North Korea: The Plight of Defectors: Hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission House of Representative