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Chun Young-Hee

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.

Chun Young-Hee was sold by traffickers in China twice on the bride market. Though she attempted to escape, fear of being caught led her to returning to her Chinese husband.

The bride’s price tag depends on her age and looks. The youngest and best looking ones sell up to 20,000 yuan (U.S.$2,500). A bride that’s worth only 3,000 yuan (U.S.$400) is tough to sell.

I ran away once, but came back after 3 days. I couldn’t speak the language, I had no money and there was nothing for me out there, except for the constant danger of being caught. Thus, I returned home and begged my husband for forgiveness, I pleaded with him to let me come back to this life of degradation and misery, for this is all I’ve got.


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