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North Korea Defectors Risk Lives in Perilous Journey

ICC Note:

A representative of Voice of America has followed the trail of North Korean refugees and has released the first of what will be a four-part report on the perils faced by those men and women who attempt to escape the oppressive nation.


4/15/08 North Korea (VoiceofAmerica) A view of life in North Korea, secretly shot from a military zone on the Chinese border. A barbed wire fence is China’s first line of defense from what Beijing fears could be an onslaught of refugees.

A North Korean Defector says, “It was much too difficult to live. We had nothing to eat. We could not get any money by doing what the government recommended we do.”

“If you don’t know anybody in China, if you don’t have any sort of welcoming party, you are in trouble. You just can’t survive there anymore because the crackdown is so severe and the bounty or reward is so high,” he said.

Cold and alone, the woman had no one to turn to when she reached a Chinese village. She recalls, “I came to a house, knocked on the door, and a woman came out. I told her I came to China to earn money. She said, ‘OK, I will give you a job, maybe in a restaurant.’ She took me to another place, and when I arrived there I found a group of men standing around me. I then learned I had been sold to them.”

Women fleeing North Korea are often victims of sexual slavery. They are trafficked to work in karaoke bars, as prostitutes, or doing the jobs that others do not want.

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