Saturday, June 07, 2008

Miserable life of one North Korean girl

U.S. Department of State recently released the 8th Annual Trafficking in Persons Report. This 295-page lengthy report covers 170 countries' human trafficking issues in a comprehensive manner. Secretary of State, Rice manifested that this report is key tool in U.S. efforts to abolish heinous human trafficking by raising awareness, offering clear recommendations to combat these crimes, and offering advice and aid from U.S.

It is no surprising that Bush administration's emphasis on human rights in the foreign policy. Yet, I am still amazed by its details and scale of it. The sections of North Korea, particularly, draws my attention. A number of North Korean trafficking are actually conducted by Chinese traffickers and North Korean smugglers. Besides, it is estimated that 150-200 thousand political prisoners are inflicted under severe conditions. According to the report, the DPRK is rated one of the worst countries in the third tier group, along with Oman, Papua New Guinea, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Cuba, Iran, Algeria, Myanmar and Moldova. Admittedly, North Korean refugees are exposed to the blindspot of human traffiking. The introduction of one North Korean girl, So-young's ill-fated life, demonstrates how vulnerable its situation is. Here is the story.

Nineteen-year-old So-young stands at less than five feet tall after being chronically malnourished in North Korea. A refugee, she crossed illegally into China with hopes of a better life, but found instead a nightmare of sexual exploitation. An“employer” offered her approximately $1.40per day in exchange for work—money that So-young planned on sending back to her family. Deceived by this empty promise, So-young spent the next several months being passed between handlers. Just days before she was to be purchased by a forty-year-old Chinese man, So-young managed to escape with the help of a local pastor. Three years later, she was forcibly repatriated to North Korea where she was imprisoned for six months before escaping once more to China. Traffickers kidnapped her once again, repeatedly raping her prior to her sale. Her new “husband” also raped her multiple times before she was able to escape. So-Young remains in hiding today: “There are many people coming out of North Korea, but they don’t have anywhere to go and no other choice but to go that route into China.”

If you are interested in global human trafficking issues,
please check out the entire report by clicking here.

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