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Ho Kyung-Soon

2007 (Narrative date)

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) is a source country for men, women and children who 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.

Ho Kyung-Soon was told she could make money working in China, however upon arrival she was sold to a man 12 years her senior to be his wife.

Somebody in North Korea had told me that I could make money working in China, and all I wanted to do was to work there for a month and then return to live with my parents. Next thing I knew was that I was taken to a trafficking establishment in China

They buy us for very little money and then make us work as slaves on their farms. My husband makes me work all by myself, the entire summer.

At first, somebody in North Korea told me that I could make money in China, and all I intended to do was to work there for a month and then return to live with my mother and father, but then I just got dragged into an entirely different arrangement.

He hits me every day, for any trivial reason. It’s not that I want to live here, but I have nowhere else to go. I’ve tried escaping twice; I was caught and beaten senseless.

There are five other North Korean women in our neighborhood, and in other neighborhoods there are seven or more. Their lives seem to be even harder than ours; they are regularly beaten and abused by their husbands.


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