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China sex industry exploits thousands of N. Korean women

May 20, 2019

A UK-based organization has documented widespread violence against women in North Korea, claiming that thousands of the communist country's women are being subjected to forced marriage and prostitution in China.

A masseuse detained on suspicion of prostitution in Beijing
Image: STR/AFP/Getty Images

A report published by the Korea Future Initiative, a London-based NGO, reveals that thousands of North Korean women and girls are being subjected to forced marriage and prostitution in China.

The report, which was presented in the UK Parliament on Monday, forensically details the vulnerability of women and girls as young as 12, who are being tricked into escaping North Korea only to be sold as sex slaves in China.

The reportSex Slaves: The Prostitution, Cybersex and Forced Marriage of North Korean Women and Girls in China – claims that an increasing demand for prostitution in China is fueling the exploitation of North Korean women and girls. It says that trafficking gangs are running a multi-million dollar illegal sex industry in China.

Read more: Rights group: North Korean women face rampant sexual abuse

Trafficking networks

According to the Korea Future Initiative, its findings are based on "longterm engagement with victims living in China and exiled survivors in South Korea."

The NGO called for concrete measures to dismantle China's sex trade and confront a North Korean regime that "abhors women."

"Pushed from their homeland by a patriarchal regime that survives through the imposition of tyranny, poverty, and oppression, North Korean women and girls are passed through the hands of traffickers, brokers, and criminal organizations before being pulled into China's sex trade, where they are exploited and used by men until their bodies are depleted," the report said.

Experts say that North Korean women are especially vulnerable to human traffickers as they are desperate to flee the country. Brokers involved in human trafficking know that their victims cannot turn to the Chinese police for help, analysts and activists say.

China's illegal trafficking has made headlines in the past few months, with Pakistani police arresting a number of Chinese nationals for marrying Pakistani girls and then forcing them into prostitution in China . Authorities in Beijing have vowed to take strict actions against trafficking networks operating in the South Asian country.

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