Visual Atlas

Dedicated to the hidden voices in North Korea, to shine a light on their suffering until they find freedom

Visual Atlas is an online platform that has been created to utilize satellite imagery for the visualization of North Korean human rights violations and case information.


Human rights violation cases: 3,622 in total

Human rights violation locations: 3,901 in total


7 themes

  • Prison Camp
  • Detention Facility
  • Public Execution
  • Forced Repatriation
  • Religious Persecution
  • Women's Rights
  • Torture and Violence

Forced Repatriation 

*Please visit our website to access more information about different themes.


6 Main Routes of Forced Repatriation


1. Dandong Border Detention Center, Dandong, Liaoning Province, China → MSS Office, Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, North Korea → Provincial MSS Holding Center, Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, North Korea


2. Tonghua border detention center, Tonghua, Jilin province, China→ MSS Office, Manpo, Jagang Province, North Korea → Provincial MSS Holding Center, Sinuiju, North Pyongan Province, North Korea  


3. Changbai border detention centre, Changbai, Jilin province, China → MSS Office, Hyesan, Yanggang Province, North Korea → Provincial MSS Holding Centre, Hyesan, Yanggang Province, North Korea


4. Hwaryong border detention centre, Hwaryong, Jilin province, China → MSS Office, Musan County, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea → Provincial MSS Holding Centre, Cheongjin, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea


5. Yongjeong border detention center, Yongjeong, Jilin province, China → MSS Office, Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province → Provincial MSS Holding Center, Cheongjin, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea


6. Domun border detention center, Domun, Jilin province, China → MSS Office, Onsong County, North Hamgyong Province → Provincial MSS Holding Center, Cheongjin, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea


Trends in Forced Repatriation (Based on NKDB database)


Since the 1990s, North Korean food insecurity has resulted in a large number of North Korean defectors.


According to the NKDB database, there have been 5,999 cases of forced repatriation in the 2000s.


Trends in Forced Repatriation by Regions (Based on NKDB database)


Routes of forced repatriation vary by the place of residence in China.


According to the NKDB database, there have been 2,171 cases of forced repatriation from Jilin Province, China to North Hamgyong Province, North Korea.


Human Trafficking → Routes for Forced Repatriation


In the 1990s, a lot of North Koreans crossed the Chinese border to survive the North Korean famine. In doing so, a lot of women became victims of human trafficking. They could not stop the defection brokers from such harm because they were expected to be sent back to North Korea immediately in case of being caught by the Chinese government which identifies them as illegal economic migrants. Even after their marriage to Chinese people, they had to take the risk of being sent back to North Korea for various reasons including reports from neighbors and questioning by patrolmen.


"The broker went to see his friend. After he sold me to his second cousin for a thousand Chinese Yuan, his second cousin suggested he sell me for a thousand Chinese Yuan more. Then the broker sold me to his other poor brother in the countryside." (archived from the testimony of a human trafficking victim)


"A Chinese Public Security officer attacked me in the middle of the night and took me away. Was it at around 10:00 PM? I was kept in the office for the whole night and sent to the border detention center to stay there for 10 days." (archived from the testimony of a forced repatriation victim)

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Database Center for North Korean Human Rights (NKDB) 북한인권정보센터

3F, Changgyeonggung-ro 1 gil-33, Jung-gu, Seoul, South Korea 

Zipcode: 04558

04558 서울시 중구 창경궁로 1길 33(충무로 4가, 삼양페이퍼피더블) 3층 

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