An estimated 60,000-70,000 North Koreans labor outside the country, according to Seoul-based advocacy groups, working in factories in China, logging camps in Siberia and construction sites in the Middle East.
Others choose a more direct route. A middleman in Shenyang who says that he helps North Korean refugees escape to prosperous South Korea has seen women choosing to be sold into marriage in China, or to work in brothels.
“They want to flee home but there’s no other way than to be sold in a form of marriage,” said the Korean-speaking man who requested anonymity because of his safety.
“One person is worth 10,000 yuan-12,000 yuan.” (US$1600 – 1900)
North’s poverty where annual gross domestic product per capita is estimated to be just $1,800 on a purchasing power parity basis, based on an independent analysis.