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Jeong Soo-Ok

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.

Jeong Soo-Ok, travelled to China after she was told she could make money there, However, upon arrival she was taken to a man’s house and then sold in to prostitution.


A woman from our village, who said she’d been to China, told me that we could make some money there, so I followed her and crossed the Tumen River, and before I even knew it, I was taken to a man’s house. The woman from our village told me and others who had been brought there not to make a sound. They gave us a new change of clothes and loaded us into a car. We didn’t know who the owner of that house was, we didn’t know who the person accompanying us was, We had no idea what was happening… Even now, I don’t know if it was then that we were on our way to being sold. Thinking of the way they spoke Korean, I think those people were Korean Chinese.

I was sold to an entertainment establishment… I was forced to see perverse customers, who put their lit cigarettes on my abdomen, hand, or breasts… The owner locked me up in a basement.

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.


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