Jihyun Park, North Korean survivor of slavery and trafficking launches NAWO’s 2021 #16DaysofActivism

Jihyun Park North Korean survivor of slavery

Jihyun Park

I am a North Korean survivor of human trafficking and forced marriage.

My experiences bear witness to the failures of States, nongovernmental organisations, and human rights activists.
Sadly, I am not alone.
The sex trafficking of North Korean women and girls in China is more prevalent, more complex, and far closer at hand than many readers of these words may appreciate.

No Rights

Three male generations of the Kim dynasty have ruled my homeland for seventy years.
All North Korean women have no rights under their rule – no right to freedom, liberty, or the pursuit of happiness.
Families are ripped apart and our relationships severed.


Forced to endure starvation; women are driven from their homeland by desperation and fear.
Too many women and girls are pushed out of their homeland by a patriarchal regime that survives through the imposition of tyranny, poverty, and oppression.

Trafficked and Exploited

North Korean women and girls are passed through the hands of traffickers, brokers, and criminal organisations before being pulled into China’s sex trade, where they are exploited and used by men until their bodies have collapsed from continuous violence, rape and abuse.
At a time when significant global capital is invested in China and, more recently, political capital expended on North Korea, it is a damning indictment that North Korean women and girls are left languishing in the sex trade.

Action needed

Only tangible, concerted action by the international community and at the UN can dismantle China’s sex trade, confront a North Korean regime that abhors women, and rescue sex slaves scattered across brothels, remote townships, and cybersex dens in mainland China

In such an uncaring world, what can be done for my countrywomen?

Peace can never be brought to countries or people governed by men who despise women that much is clear to all who open their eyes.
Making a difference in the fight against human trafficking is, therefore, daunting but not impossible.
It is obvious that we must target China’s sex trade and trafficking rings for removal and actively rescue and protect victims. And we must also confront the main problem – the Government of North Korea – at its source.

English slavery abolitionist William Wilberforce and others led the first anti-slavery movement 180 years ago. Over the 17 years period, Wilberforce fought tirelessly to end the slave trade.

Together we can make a difference

We can do the same again today in Britain, to end human trafficking and modern day slavery.
Together we can make a difference; we can change the lives of victims and bring them out of the shadows of trafficking and slavery, abuse and horror into a world of human dignity and respect for human rights.

Modern slavery is happening in the UK

Modern slavery and human trafficking: it’s happening now and it’s happening here in the UK.
We need strong multi-stakeholder action: we cannot ignore it.

This article by Jihyun Park follows on from the NAWO Young Women’s Alliance event on 25 November 2021

Jihyun Park tells her real life story of bravely escaping near starvation in North Korea to China, only to be torn away from her son and forced back to the country she fled. – Watch video

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