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Editor’s note: this short article contains information on intimate physical violence against ladies.

Each week, 53-year-old Lee Soon-sil visits an eastern medication clinic to deal with her aching knees. Currently, a lot more than ten years has passed away she still suffers from injuries caused by the abuse and imprisonment she faced in the DPRK and China since she first defected from North Korea, and yet.

“I found Southern Korea once I had been 41, and I’ve miscarried 3 times. Remedies and medications don’t work,” she said. “I became able to find freedom within the Southern, but just when I ended up being trafficked 3 times in China.”

As Lee drove into the hospital, she recalled males cornering her in an alleyway that is dark China — her first end on a defection path that fundamentally took her to Southern Korea.

The guys demanded that she carry her top after which groped at her human anatomy, sizing her up “as if these people were haggling to acquire your pet dog into the countryside,” she said. Lee had been afraid and did long lasting guys ordered her doing — she didn’t would like them to report her to Chinese authorities, that would then repatriate her straight back North. An agent had offered her for them, and did therefore at the least two more times before she was able to escape.

A lot more than a ten years later on, Lee states she’s joyfully married and settled into her South life that is korean. However the sexual assaults she ended up being obligated to quietly endure nevertheless haunt her — she nevertheless is affected with lingering reproductive health problems today.

Lee Soon-sil records a YouTube video clip during a visit towards the inter-Korean edge area in 2017. | Image: Kelly Kasulis

At the very least 60per cent of females North defectors that are korean China are intercourse trafficked, based on present quotes through the Korea Future Initiative . And once they’re in South Korea, they are able to nevertheless face severe harassment that is sexual attack — as a whole, 1 in 5 South Korean women can be considered to be victims of those crimes.

Meanwhile, around 1 in 4 of females defectors skilled violence that is sexual resettling when you look at the Southern, in accordance with a 2017 study .

Now, the problem is a lot more front and center: Several females North Korean defectors say they’ve been raped and intimately assaulted by Southern Korea cleverness and cops have been tasked with protecting them. But since is the situation with numerous intimate assaults, these defectors are met with overwhelming question and fault.

“They found Southern Korea risking their valuable everyday lives,” Jeon Su-mi, legal counsel who’s assisting a defector sue a police for intimate physical violence, said in a news release. “These perpetrators keep misusing their authority that is public and assaulting ladies defectors. It really is a criminal activity against mankind.”

A female walks outside in Pyongyang. | Image: NK Information


In July 2020, A south korean officer ended up being faced with presumably raping and intimately assaulting a female North Korean defector he had been assigned to separately protect. The officer that is senior whom worked at Seocho facility, is accused of assaulting defector at the least 10 times during the period of per year . 5.

Then, earlier in the day this thirty days, two high-level South Korean intelligence that is military had been indicted on costs of raping an alternative North Korean defector many times between 2018 and 2019.

The 2 instances might talk with a bigger trend of females defectors dealing with abuse that is recurrent. Generally speaking, lots of women defectors are available “personal protection officers” for a mandatory of five years upon their arrival towards the south, and unequal energy characteristics or punishment could factor to the assaults.

But Lee — a target of intimate physical violence herself — is not convinced the fees are real.

“I simply don’t purchase it,” she told NK Information . “Do you have got any concept just exactly how caring and dedicated these officers are to us defectors? It is probably those women’s fault — those that don’t decide to decide to try diligently enough to resettle right here after defecting, those that stop trying their health every now and then so effortlessly.”

Yet some politicians that are prominent certainly purchasing it. Ten lawmakers, including recently elected defector-politicians Ji Seong-ho and Thae Yong-ho — proposed a bill last thirty days that will allow females defectors to find the sex of these individual security officers.

Around 72% of North Korean defectors in Southern Korea are females, together with present protection system is susceptible to “infringe on women’s legal legal legal rights,” the bill proposal stated.

The scenario is hard to imagine: Her personal protection officer bought her expensive beef barbecue, gifts and treats her like a friend in Lee’s case.

“I happened to be fed up with North Korean policemen right back within the North, but right right here, we have been happy with our officers,” she said.

Jeong Jin-hwa, a defector that is 55-year-old left North Korea in 1999 and stumbled on the Southern in 2002. She recalls the pain sensation to be “bought and sold like goods” in China, where she had been “not addressed like a individual being.”

But also Jeong stated she felt uncomfortable with just exactly how South headlines that are korean accused officers as “criminals.”

“People in North Korea would not have a great knowledge of intimate crime because there’s no feeling of exactly what individual liberties is within the beginning,” she said. Having said that, South society that is korean about individual legal rights time in and day out.”

“The victim ended up being an adult,” Jeong said, talking about the lady defector whom alleges that a officer repeatedly raped her. “Unlike back in North Korea, she will have understood that she could say no here. She may have simply opted for not to ever start the home for him.”

North Korean defector Park Sung-ae shooting a YouTube episode | Image: Park Sung-ae


Southern Korea’s more youthful generation of North Korean defectors see things a UkraineDate mobile site little differently.

Twenty-seven-year-old Park Sung-ae, whom defected from North Korea in 2008, stated she sympathized using the ladies victims “not simply because i’m a defector, but because I’m a female, like them.”