Born and raised in Cheongjin, located in the northeastern part of reclusive North Korea, Park Myeong-hee escaped her home country in 2012, leaving behind all of her beloved family and friends.
[Among her challenges] it was hard to meet somebody in South Korea. She didn’t have anyone who could fix her up on a blind date. It was when she happened upon an online site exclusively intended for matchmaking between North Korean women and South Korean men that she made headway.
Park is one of the steadily increasing number of North Korean defectors seeking to find their lifelong partners in the South through matchmaking companies, whose business has been growing fast in recent years. There are no official figures, but industry experts say that the number of matchmaking companies stood at around 10 in the early 2010s but now has risen to around 70.
Small business owners, office workers and even public servants are signing up. Recent TV programs featuring North Korean women dating South Korean men seem to be of great help in removing any negative images attached to the women from the communist north.
North Korean women are known for their strong commitment to the family. Adding to that, since many have lost everything in the North by opting to defect, they tend to cherish their marriage no matter what.