In Awareness, Forced Labor, Forced marriage, Human Trafficking, Sex Trafficking on March 31, 2013 at 3:17 pm
The increasing availability of outside media information is also attributed as another major factor in inducing North Koreans to flee North Korea. Mee-Ri Kim, an employee at the South Korean NGO, Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights, states: “More and more North Koreans are exposed to outside information sources [such as South Korean television] that show them there is a better world out there.”
Meanwhile, an interesting trend in the statistics is that women comprise over 65% of the number of North Korean defectors to South Korea.
Kim suspects that because of the wider array of economic opportunities available to women in China, more North Korean women flee North Korea than men. Such opportunities include waitress positions and babysitter jobs.
A Newsweek article from August 2012 however offers a darker explanation. Chinese or Korean-Chinese bride-brokers, or matchmakers, attempt to secure North Korean brides for Chinese men, often through trickery.
According to Newsweek, the Chinese one-baby policy combined with traditional Chinese favoritism for sons has now created “an epic surge in bachelors” in rural China, and hence an exploding demand for brides.
These brokers usually shower North Korean women with promises of lucrative jobs and a better education.
Source: The International
In Human Trafficking on October 20, 2012 at 2:53 pm
Kim Han-mi watches her mother being dragged by Chinese policemen when her family attempted to enter into the Japanese Consulate in order to seek asylum in Shenyang. (Kyodo/courtesy Reuters)
Chinese government policies receive the lion’s share of Kirkpatrick’s criticism precisely because those policies are what make the North Korean refugee path to freedom on Asia’s underground railroad so dangerous. Kirkpatrick strongly criticizes China’s failure to recognize North Koreans as political refugees as well as China’s complicity in enabling human trafficking of North Korean women, denial of citizenship rights to Chinese-North Korean mixed race children of trafficked unions with Chinese citizens, and Chinese government efforts to round up and return North Koreans to detention, often under life-threatening circumstances for fleeing the DPRK. China’s policies even punish Kirkpatrick’s heroes who have sacrificed their own resources and freedom to lead North Koreans on the underground railroad to freedom.
Despite the efforts of courageous facilitators who comprise Asia’s underground railroad, the road to freedom Kirkpatrick describes remains unnecessarily fraught with risk and tragedy for those who are caught, sold, or repatriated to severe punishments in North Korea. Over 20,000 North Koreans have fled to South Korea in the past decade (2,737 arrived in South Korea in 2011 and 135 have relocated to the United States since 2006), but there is no way of knowing how many North Koreans fled the North but failed to find freedom. Even more serious for the future of the underground railroad is that the number of North Korean refugees during the first six months in 2012 under Kim Jong-un compared to the figure for the same period in 2011 dropped over forty-percent to 751. This conspicuous difference is likely the result of strengthened North Korean border control efforts.
Source: Council on Foreign Relations