[Wall Street Journal] As China Reopens Borders, Trafficking of Women and Girls Resumes

3 Jul 2023

On June 30th, 2023, The Wall Street Journal covered that human trafficking of foreign women to China, which had a sharp decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the construction of the border wall, is showing a sign of a rebound. In particular, the article reported that thousands of North Koreans who escaped to China, including women who were victims of human trafficking, are being detained by the Chinese authorities and are in danger of being repatriated to North Korea as the borders reopen. NKDB's Director of International Cooperation, Hanna Song, appeared in the article, urging China not to repatriate North Korean women.

In the northern areas where China borders North Korea, aid groups say many of those fleeing the Pyongyang regime are women sold into prostitution or marriage with Chinese men. Many of these women, along with other North Korean escapees, eventually get rounded up by authorities and sent to detention centers as they are considered by China to be in the country illegally. Nearly 2,000 North Koreans are held at detention centers near the China-North Korea border, rights watchers estimate. Beijing is expected to start repatriating North Koreans once Pyongyang lifts Covid-related border controls. 

Even North Korean women married to Chinese men may be repatriated, potentially facing execution or shipment to prison camps, rights groups say.

“What China can do now is to offer protections to the many [North Korean] women…who are wives to their own citizens and now mothers of their youth,” said Hanna Song, a director at the Seoul-based Database Center for North Korean Human Rights.

You can read the full article on The Wall Street Journal website by clicking HERE.