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Some female defectors cross border knowing the dangers

Women who make the dangerous journey across the border from North Korea to China as defectors are routinely raped and even sold when they arrive, RFA's Korean service reports.

Interviews with numerous North Korean defectors recently arrived in South Korea reveal a systematic terrorization of female defectors by the Chinese security forces, frequently with the tacit approval of their North Korean counterparts.

"I could not even go out in the Yanbian area [bordering North Korea] because the Chinese police were chasing every single North Korean, as requested by the North Korean government," recent defector Choi Jin Sung told RFA's Seoul correspondent.

"The human rights infringements in China are very serious," Choi said. "Most single-woman defectors have been raped in China. Some say the Chinese police are taking the eyes or organs of North Korean girls, but not a single institution is investigating the rumor."

Other sources confirmed widespread abuse of North Korean women. "Those who are familiar with the area or those who are chased by the police risk their lives by going into the mountains, but it is not possible for some women," defector Jung Il Young said in a recent interview.

"So those women just cross the river. I have even seen some Chinese taking two North Korean women, a 45-year-old mother and 20-year-old daughter, to sell," said Jung. Both Jung and Choi's names have been changed.

Jung said some women were even aware of the dangers they faced before defecting, but still went to China. "I know from experience that there are people who are willing to do anything as long as they can eat three meals a day," he said.

As many as 300,000 North Koreans are believed to be in hiding in northeastern China, in the hope of winning passage to a third country. Hundreds of North Koreans fleeing hunger and repression at home have been allowed to leave China for the rival South after seeking refuge at embassies and other foreign offices.#####


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