Most refugees arriving in China, of which Kirkpatrick said â€œ75 percent are womenâ€, usually end up in the hands of â€œbrokersâ€. Brokers are a â€œnecessary evilâ€, claims Kim, whoâ€™s missionary on the Chinese border often deals with brokers to pay for refugees. Once in Kimâ€™s care, the refugeesÂ are provided information on how to utilize the â€œUnderground Railroadâ€ to successfully navigate to South Korea.
The â€œUnderground Railroadâ€ is similar to the one used in America during the mid-19th century to assist slaves with a safe passage to the North, says Kirkpatrick. Kim utilized this service when he was 13 years old and an orphan in North Korea. The route varies and refugees can pass through any combination of China, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam. Countries such as Laos and Cambodia are more accommodating and will contact the South Korean Consulate and inform them of the refugees. In China however, refugees are mostly detained and sent back to North Korea. Although most refugees desire to end up in South Korea, Kim says he attempts to persuade them to return to North Korea and become â€œfreedom fightersâ€.
One large â€˜marketâ€™ for North Korean women is to become a wife for Chinese men. Some women who see no hope in North Korea decide that a life with a Chinese man is better than their current existence. And the market demand for North Korean women is high, due to Chinaâ€™s one child policy. In some areas, â€œmen outnumber women by a ratio of 14:1,â€ states Kirkpatrick. Others are sold directly into prostitution. Trafficking grew mostly during the late 1990â€™s, due to North Koreans need for food. â€œThe Chinese people saw a chance to make money,â€ says Kim, and took advantage of this. Kim explained that brokers would also go to North Korea, seek out women and then say, â€œcome to China for a better life.â€
Source: NK News