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60 pct of female N. Korean defectors in China trafficked into sex trade: report

North Korea 11:04 May 21, 2019

SEOUL, May 21 (Yonhap) -- About 60 percent of female North Korean defectors in China are believed to be trafficked for sexual exploitation, a London-based civic group said in a report, urging South Korea and China to take action to protect the women and girls.

Of the victims, nearly half were forced into prostitution, over 30 percent were sold into forced marriages and another 15 percent were pressed into cybersex from 2015 to 2018, Korea Future Initiative said in the report, citing rescuers based in China.

Titled "The Prostitution, Cybersex & Forced Marriage of North Korean Women & Girls in China," the report was written based on interviews with over 45 survivors and victims of sexual violence, as well as discussions with rescuers and citizens in China.

An estimated US$105 million in annual profits are generated through the illegal exploitation of female North Korean refugees in China, who are prostituted for as little as $4 and sold as wives for $146, it said.

The victims are mostly aged between 12 and 29, and girls as young as nine-years-old are involved in cybersex trafficking, a small but expanding part in the overall sex trade of North Korean women, the report said. Many viewers in the paying global audience to the livestreamed webcams are believed to be South Korean men, it added.

"Prospects for North Korean women and girls trapped in China's multimillion-dollar sex trade are bleak," the report's author Yoon Hee-soon said. "Urgent and immediate action, which will run contrary to the prevailing politics of inter-Korean dialogue, is needed to save the lives of countless female North Korean refugees in China."


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