North Korean women are reportedly being brought into Chinese sex-trafficking rings by the tens of thousands, according to the Korea Future Initiative.
The Korea Future Initiative, a non-governmental organization in London, completed an investigation that uncovered details surrounding Chinese sex-trafficking, revealing hordes of North Korean women and girls are potentially being forced into prostitution, marriage and sex slavery.
It describes the trafficking ring as a “complex and interconnected network of criminality,” which reportedly nets about $105 million per year off “the sale of female North Korean bodies.”
“Pushed from their homeland by a patriarchal regime that survives through the imposition of tyranny, poverty, and oppression, North Korean women and girls are passed through the hands of traffickers, brokers, and criminal organisations,” the report stated.
“Before being pulled into China’s sex trade, where they are exploited and used by men until their bodies are depleted.”
One North Korean victim recounted the experience as a prostitute in China.
“Our madam came into the room and told us when a client had arrived. We were sometimes told to reapply our makeup or to look happier […] The prettiest woman would have to welcome the [client] to the bathhouse and, in turn, we would introduce ourselves by our fake names and state our prices […] The [clients] could tell we were North Korean by our accents and some would even ask me about my life in North Korea,” the victim said in the report. (RELATED: Here’s Why Trump’s Talks With Kim Jong Un Fell Apart)
“The exploitation of North Korean women and girls generates annual profits of at least $105 million for the Chinese underworld. Victims are prostituted for as little as ¥30 Chinese Yuan ($4), sold as wives for just ¥1000 Chinese Yuan ($146), and trafficked into cybersex dens for exploitation by a global online audience,” the report’s author, Yoon Hee-soon, said, according to the Independent.
“Commonly aged between 12-29 and overwhelmingly female, victims 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,” she continued.
Prostitution has replaced forced marriages as the most common path for trafficked North Korean women, some of whom are as young as 9 years old, Hee-soon said. She said forced marriages continue to be prevalent in rural areas, where North Korean women are routinely bought, raped and enslaved by their husbands, the Independent reported.
“Enslaved in brothels that litter satellite-towns and townships close to large urban areas in northeast China, victims are mostly aged between 15-25 and are habitually subjected to penetrative vaginal and anal rape, forced masturbation, and groping,” she added.
Hee-soon also said small rescue organizations and Christian missionaries have attempted to do their part in saving some victims of the sex trade.
“Many victims have perished in China, while small rescue organisations and Christian missionaries struggle to perform rescue work. Urgent and immediate action, which will run contrary to the prevailing politics of inter-Korean dialogue, is needed to save the lives of countless female North Korean refugees in China,” she said.
The report notes that if a small NGO like the Korea Future Initiative was able to uncover previously ignored or unknown details on the North Korea-China sex trafficking ring with its limited resources, other factions should be motivated to do so as well.
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