Stop Cross-Border Sex Trafficking Between North Korea and China
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Eighty percent of North Koreans who make it across the Yalu River and escape to Northeastern China are women. Ninety percent of those women will become victims of sex trafficking. There is a tremendous demand for "mercenary marriage" in this part of China, and the effect on refugees is devastating. According to a 2005
report, the victims are sold to old bachelors and widowers in these villages, and in many cases, a few men from the same village pool money together to "share" a bride. Locals estimate there are 30,000 to 50,000 North Korean laborers and sex slaves in the region.
The Chinese government has no effective support system set up to deal with this kind of trafficking. Firstly, Chinese law does not recognize these marriages, leaving the women with no legal recognition or rights. Secondly, the government has a ruthless policy of returning the refugees to North Korea-essentially giving them the choice between prostitution abroad and starvation at home.
Chinese President Hu Jintao is scheduled to visit to the United States early next year. It is imperative that the Obama Administration raise the issue of trafficking between North Korea and Northeastern China. They should outline specific steps that China can complete to combat this issue, and threaten to upgrade China's status on the State Department's human trafficking list.
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