The psychological toll on North Korean defectors from child abandonment and sex slavery

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The pain of losing her babies is still evident in the eyes of Kim Jeong Ah, a North Korean defector and mother. The life of the 43-year-old Hermit Kingdom survivor has been scarred by battle after battle, and all she can do now is pick up the pieces.

Three days after Jeong Ah was born, she was orphaned. Her adoptive mother and father were dead by the time she was 13. Soon after being adopted at the age of 17, she was summoned to join the North Korean military. After narrowly escaping death as a result of extreme malnutrition and harsh treatment during her seven-year tenure as a soldier, Jeong Ah thought getting married and starting a family of her own would be the start of a brighter life.

But pain found her at home, too. “My second child was born with a disability due to my husband beating me,” Jeong Ah told Fox News. “Unfortunately, my daughter did not survive for more than 10  months, and I realized I could not stay in this type of environment. But I had nowhere to go, no extended family because I was [an] orphan, so I decided to escape North Korea.”

The young mother, who left her eldest child with his father in North Korea, found out she was pregnant soon after crossing into China — where she had just been sold into “a human trafficking situation.” One of Jeong Ah’s customers agreed to be her “husband” to avoid the immediate threat of having her be forcibly returned to North Korea.

“But for almost two years and nine months, I lived in fear of being arrested and forced back to North Korea, so I knew I had to go to South Korea,” she said. “After resettlement, I wanted to bring my Chinese husband and daughter I had with him, but he refused. For ten years now, I have not been able to contact my daughter in China, or hear her voice, or know what is going on in her life.”

To this day, barely a moment goes by in which Jeong Ah doesn’t think of her two estranged children and the baby who died in such harrowing circumstances.

“I gave birth to four children, but, tragically, I only have one child that I am living with. Looking back, I feel that I was abandoned by my own birth parents, and I feel so terrible that I myself did the same thing my parents did to me,” Jeong Ah said. Read more

This entry was posted in , , by Grant Montgomery.

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One reference to “The psychological toll on North Korean defectors from child abandonment and sex slavery

  1. […] such mother Jeong Ah has gone on to serve as founder and executive director of Tongil Mom (which translates to […]

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