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KH Lee

2010 (Narrative date)

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.

In August 2003 KH Lee was cheated by a man she met at her farm field trip in North Korea, She came to China and was sold to a Korean-Chinese for RMB 10,000 ($1,500). In December 2003 KH Lee was arrested by the Chinese police, but released after paying some penalty by a man who bought her and is living with her. With fear of being arrested again, she left that house, moved to Dalian, where she found her way to S. Korea, by leaving her home.

I was a technician at the clothing factory. When I visited a different farm, I met a man I liked. He enticed me to come to China to make a better living with him. So I left my country, NK to China, with him on the mid-night of Aug 17, 2003. While I was staying at a Korean-Chinese house for about 10 days and sold to a place called Heilongjiang for 10,000 RMB I didn't know I was sold for such amount at that time. I lived by myself with a farmer who worked at a farm. In Dec, 2003, I was arrested to the police because a Korean-Chinese neighbor accused me as an illegal NK in China. Fortunately, because of the man I was living with, he paid some of the penalty; I was released without being repatriated to NK. But I was so fearful that I was an illegal alien in this country. I told the man that I would be arrested again so instead I would rather go to another city to make money. With his permission, I came to Dalian and made myself a new life. Then, later I heard S. Korea would accept NK refugees as their country people and they would support me for the settlement. So I decided I would go to S. Korea. My new brother in law went to S. Korea to make a living and he connected me to find a NK refugee organization that helped NK refugees going to S. Korea. This is how I got connected to you. Please help me to go to S. Korea. Thankyou.


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