There is evidence to suggest that the presence of political prison camps in certain North Korean provinces may have some sort of influence on the number of defections.
Provinces more to the south that have more defections than some provinces in the north also happen to host prison camps within their borders. And other northern provinces with smaller defection rates happen to have no political prison camps at all.
When comparing a map of North Korea’s provinces with the locations of known North Korean Kwalliso or political prison camps (both still active and recently closed), one finds that half of the reported camps – camps 16, 22, and 25, near Hwasong, Hoeryong, and Chongjin, respectively are located in North Hamgyong province .
North Hamgyong province is the region of origin for more than 60% of all North Korean defectors.
South Pyongan province also hosts another two political prisoner camps – camps 14 and 18, known as Gaechon and Bukchang, respectively. Camp 15, known as Yodok is located to the east of the border area with South Hamgyong province, though the camp itself is technically located in South Hamgyong province proper.
[Source: Shaquille James, Co-Founder of the North Korea Network] Read more