A woman who escaped from human trafficking in North Korea in 2007 has opened up about the horrors she encountered under Kim Jong-un’s regime.
Ji Hyunah, a North Korean-Chinese woman born in North Korea was captured by traffickers with her family in 1998. She was sold into slavery and “bought” twice, once even becoming pregnant and forced to undergo an abortion.
Ji told The Telegraph, “...human trafficking is not just like being sold and forced to live with someone. They were afraid that we would run away, so we were constantly watched. We lived in fear. There were Chinese brokers in each village. They would find out how many men in each Chinese village could not find a bride, and that number of women would be sent there.”
Life News reports that the first time Ji was sold, it was to an elderly Chinese woman who “bought” her to marry the woman’s son. But before Ji met her intended husband, she was captured by authorities who placed her in a North Korean jail.
In the jail, the prisoners had no food and had to eat grasshoppers and frogs to survive. 1,800 of 2,000 inmates died in the jail; Ji miraculously lived but was sold into slavery a second time where her “owner” got her pregnant.
After being captured by authorities again, Ji was forced to get an abortion without anesthetic.
“...I was bleeding heavily for a long time,” she said. “I was fortunate that one of the guards took pity on me and convinced his senior officer to release me.”
Ji escaped to Seoul, South Korea in 2007 and was able to help her family out of North Korea as well. She published a book about her years as a slave called 244 Miles in Search of Freedom.
Ji said, “The reason that I speak out is because so many people were unable to survive the hardships of life in North Korea. A few, like me, can now enjoy our freedom, but the dead can’t. And when we factor in the countless others who have just disappeared, the real figure is far higher. For these victims, we need to lead lives that include a portion of their lives. We cannot permit ourselves to die or to become ill. We must ask ourselves what we can do. And the best thing that we could do would be to bring down the regime of Kim Jong-un.”
Publication date: February 18, 2015