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Mi-Kyung Kim

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.

Mi-Kyung Kim escaped North Korea into China in 2009. However upon arrival she was sold and forced to work computer chatting with men. 

My name is Mi Kyung. I am working at a place where a Chinese Korean is boss for Korean client. Crossed into China in May, 2009. My parents passed away so I was raised by my uncle. When I got old enough, I was uncomfortable to live at my uncle's house. One day a man I knew told me there are good place to work in China, so I just followed him to get a good job and to be independent by myself But I found I was sold after the man left. Where I was sold had 4 NK women were working Computer chatting through video screen. I don't know where I am exactly but I am sure I am in Hanam, Yanji. They told me Yanji Shenyang consul office is nearby. I was talking to the men I am chatting with, they told me that they asked Korean Embassy if they could help me, but the answer was impossible. Next to the Embassy, there are lots of police around the building. And very scary to even be near that place. I am using a MSN Messenger ID borrowed from a Korean client. I found NK Women's Coalition by chance; I learned your phone number to call through MSN. I told them about my situation.

My boss is a Korean Chinese, and he himself told me to help me but I couldn't trust him. Last Oct in 2009, Chinese police stormed our place and arrested all other girls who were working there. I was arrested together with them but I was heart attack at that time, they were afraid if I could die, they had released me. They didn't want to have any trouble having a NK refugee die in their place. Right now, I am alone. But I am always scare of the Chinese police might come back again to arrest me to repatriate back to NK. Boss is not watching me that crazy but never let me go out. He gave me something to eat but not enough. I could go out by breaking window, but, if I wander in the street I am fearful I could be arrested to the police again. I don't like to do Computer chatting with strange man. I want to get out of here. One thing comfort me is that I was lucky to meet good client so that they refer me NK Women's Coalition and how to go to S.Korea. I am young and have many things to do. I hate here. I want to escape from here soon as possible. Please help me.


Narrative provided by Escaping North Korea: The Plight of Defectors: Hearing before the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission House of Representative