A new report from London-based human right group Korea Future Initiative is warning that thousands of North Korean women and girls have been trafficked to China.
The report says North Korean women are trafficked into the sex trade in China or forced into marriage. They are especially isolated in China because China deports all undocumented North Koreans — which they regard as illegal immigrants — back to North Korea, where they are likely to be punished.
“Victims are prostituted for as little as 30 Chinese yuan ($4.30; £3.40), sold as wives for just 1,000 yuan, and trafficked into cybersex dens for exploitation by a global online audience,” said the report’s author Yoon Hee-soon.
Many 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, and were raped and abused by their husbands.
The group collected its information from victims in China and exiled survivors in South Korea.
“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,” said one woman in the report.
Another North Korean woman said their traffickers advertised them to South Koreans in China.
“South Korean companies want [North Korean prostitutes] for their businessmen…Prostitution was my first experience of meeting a South Korean person,” she explained.