Son Myunghee, 35 was given up for adoption the day after she was born. Her adopted parents died when she was young, forcing her to work in an illegal scrap metal mine near her home town.
Myunghee first escaped North Korea in 2007 after two years of hiding in the mountains, but her foray into “freedom” was short-lived. She was tortured so severely by Chinese agents, she says, that her intestines ruptured and she was left fighting for her life before being repatriated in 2012.
“The regime tried to make an example out of me and use me to put fear in the population. I had to escape this whole situation of further mistreatment and punishment,” she said.
Myunghee absconded again in 2014, making it to South Korea the following year. She currently lives in South Korea with her Chinese husband and children, and endeavors to support other victims of forced repatriation.
Another defector, who requested anonymity given that her immediate family remains in North Korea, told Fox News that, since defecting in 2004, she is only able to afford to speak to her children once per year. Arrangements are made through a secret broker that goes to the family home in North Korea and uses a Chinese cell signal to facilitate a brief phone call.
It’s a few minutes of joy, eclipsed mostly by waiting and agony.