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As a part of its numerous interviews with North Korean defectors, PSCORE has gathered many testimonies providing information about the trafficking of North Koreans. Several actors are involved in human trafficking of North Koreans. We can distinguish two categories of trafficking according to the perpetrator. The most common one is the trafficking of North Korean defectors, who are vulnerable to human trafficking networks due to their status as illegal migrants in China. Trafficking can start from the DPRK, where people are deceived or abducted in order to make them cross the Chinese border. Then, they are sold in China, mostly for sexual or labor exploitation, or as wives, primarily for Chinese farmers.

The second aspect of human trafficking undergone by the North Korean people is the one organized directly by the government of the DPRK. The Inter-Agency Coordination Group against Trafficking in Persons establishes the following definition:

“To recruit, transport, transfer, harbor or receive people for the purpose of exploitation. Victims may be exploited for […] forced labor or services; slavery or practices similar to it; recruitment into armed forces or groups […]. Traffickers victimize people by threatening or using force or other forms of coercion – such as abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of their power or their victim’s vulnerability, or by paying a person who has control over their intended victim.

Based on this definition, the DPRK is responsible for human trafficking of its own population. Indeed, the North Korean government uses its people to make money for the State, by exploiting their workforce without choice.


Find the full report below:

PSCORE submission to the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in persons and protection of refugees, stateless persons and internally displaced persons (IDPs)