05/21/2019, 16.06
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Some 60 per cent of North Korean women who fled to China are victims of sexual exploitation

Trafficking generates US$ 105 million in annual profits. Almost one survivor in two is forced into prostitution, over 30 per cent are sold into forced marriages and another 15 per cent forced into cybersex. The victims are mostly aged between 12 and 29 but some are younger.

Seoul (AsiaNews/Agencies) – About 60 per cent of female North Korean defectors in China are believed to be trafficked for sexual exploitation (prostitution, forced marriages and cybersex), a London-based civic group says in a report.

Titled Prostitution, Cybersex & Forced Marriage of North Korean Women & Girls in China," the research by the Korea Future Initiative is based on interviews with more than 45 survivors and victims of sexual violence, as well as discussions with rescuers and others in China.

Between 2015 to 2018, nearly half of the victims were forced into prostitution, over 30 per cent were sold into forced marriages and another 15 per cent were pressed into cybersex.

The exploitation of North Korean women defectors in China generates an estimated US$ 105 million in annual profits.

"Victims are prostituted for as little as 30 Chinese yuan (US$ 4.30), sold as wives for just 1,000 yuan (US$ 145), and trafficked into cybersex dens for exploitation by a global online audience," the report's author Yoon Hee-soon says.

The girls and women in question are usually aged 12 to 29, but can sometimes be younger. They are coerced, sold, or abducted in China or trafficked directly from North Korea.

Many are sold more than once and are forced into at least one form of sexual slavery within a year of leaving their homeland. Others are enslaved in brothels in districts in north-east China with large migrant worker populations.

The girls – some as young as nine – and women working in the cybersex industry are forced to perform sex acts and are sexually assaulted in front of webcams. Many of the subscribers are thought to be South Korean.

Women forced into marriage were mostly sold in rural areas for 1,000 to 50,000 yuan (US$ 7,250), and were raped and abused by their husbands.

One woman, named as Ms Pyon from Chongjin City, North Korea, is quoted as saying in the report: "I was sold [to a brothel] with six other North Korean women at a hotel. We were not given much food and were treated badly . . . After eight months, half of us were sold again. The broker did bad things to me."

Another victim, Kim, said: "There are many South Koreans [in Dalian, China] . . . We put advertising cards under their doors [in hotels] . . . The cards are in the Korean-language and advertise what we offer...We are mostly taken to bars [by the pimp].”

"South Korean companies want [North Korean prostitutes] for their businessmen . . . Prostitution was my first experience of meeting a South Korean person."

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