See-Yeon Kim defected to China and was repatriated back to North Korea. She escaped again in 2008 and settled in South Korea. She shares the following insight:
Human trafficking smugglers [have existed] ever since traders along the China-North Korean border area requested North Korean women in return for money.
Women who [defected] were able to settle down if they met good people amongst the many Korean-Chinese living along the frontier. However, there were also a lot of North Korean smugglers living near the frontier who knew the situation of these women very well.
Many times, women defectors were [enticed for meals, drugged and] sold without their knowledge [to] ignorant, old men whom these women had no interest in. These unmarried old men would buy North Korean women and force them to bear children. At first, women denied and complained but they had no idea how to escape and nowhere to run to. They didn’t even know how to speak Chinese so they had no choice but to stay.
There are still North Koreans out there who either defected or were sold, living in this condition. These North Koreans who are still living in Chinese households do not know anything about the outside world. They don’t know how the country is run, and they don’t know how to get out of their situation right now or where to go. They are unsure if their lives will be any better. They have no choice but to live their lives like this.
Many of these people are still indicated as ‘missing’ or ‘dead’ back home in North Korea. However, the families still have hopes that they are alive.
[Radio Free Asia]