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.
Kim HO left North Korea for China in 2003 after hearing she could make good money. She followed a man into China and was sold to a Korean-Chinese man for $600. Kim HO lived with that man for seven years till she escaped and looked for a way to South Korea.
I came to Hyesan city to do business with my sister in 2003. I have been living in the inner country my whole life; I never felt that was the border area to China. One day, a strange man approached me and told me if I come to the other side of the river, I could make lots of money in short time. So, I just felt if I could go there to see if his word was true. So I followed him to see the opportunities in China. But he was a liar. I followed him to Shandong province without knowing their language and I was being sold. After a few days passed, I realized I was sold to them, I strongly requested to go back to my country. But he told me that I was sold and if I don't listen to him, I would be informed to the police so I should keep quite. He told me my cost was for 4,000 RMB ($600). So, I had to live there for 7 years with him. As he was a Korean-Chinese, he went to S. Korea to make money. But not very long, I heard he was having a family in S. Korea with another woman. I have lived with him by trusting him as my husband. But when I realized he was no longer being my man, I felt unsecured for myself. So, I left myself leaving behind a 6 years old boy from him to come to S. Korea. But it wasn't easy to find the way to S. Korea. One day a NK woman, whom I met at the village, told me if I wanted to come to S. Korea. She said she had a connection to come to S. Korea. I didn't hesitate anymore. I left that house to come to S. Korea. Please help me to make it to the free country where I can live in peace.
Narrative provided by Escaping North Korea: The Plight of Defectors: Hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission House of Representative