Thanks to your generous donations to the Rescue Fund, nine refugees were able to safely reach a South Korean embassy in Thailand or Laos in the summer of 2015. Here are their stories.
Chul-min, his wife, and their two children
Born and raised in a mining city in the northernmost region of North Korea, Chul-min worked as a bus driver near the Chinese border. His mother and elder brother had escaped to China, and his wife had run away with another man, leaving him with two children to raise on his own. Witnessing a huge inflow of Chinese commercialism and the consequent waves of change, Chul-min began to dream of living in a free world. He began secretly looking into methods and routes of crossing the border. After about a year of planning, and newly remarried, he and his family finally crossed the river to reach China. With no money, Chul-min and his family were forced to sleep under discarded vinyl in the biting cold until he fortunately come into contact with NKHR’s trusted guide.
At the age of ten, shortly after her parents died, Mi-hyang was sexually trafficked into China. The man to whom she was sold seemed kind at first, but when money became tight, he began to beat her and their child when he was drunk. One night he even pulled a knife on her. Fearing for her life, she finally escaped the house in hopes of coming to South Korea.
Kyung-shim and her two daughters
Kyung-shim was born in Hoeryong, North Korea, in the 1990s. Both of her parents died during the famine. Having escaped North Korea by crossing the Chinese border, at first Kyung-shim’s poor health prevented her from being sold as a “bride.” Instead, she was quickly trafficked as a laborer and sold to a farm. However, after regaining her health, 23-year-old Kyung-shim was then sold to a 45-year-old Chinese man. She gave birth to a son and a daughter, but could not even afford to take them to a doctor when they were sick. After four years, she ran away from her husband and found a job at a small restaurant. She soon got remarried to a 47-year old man and lived with him in a remote and impoverished area in the country, giving birth to two more children. However, her second husband was a heavy drinker and would often beat them. She ran away with her children, but doubted that the three of them would be able to survive.
Saved from the Sex Trade
Seventeen-year-old Ok was raised by her aunt after she lost her parents in North Korea. Faced with financial hardship, Ok was tricked into believing she could earn money in China. She accepted a stranger’s offer to help her cross the border. But when she arrived in China, she soon realized that she was to be sold by sex traffickers. She was able to escape before being sold.
While these refugees have successfully reached South Korea, many more are still awaiting their opportunity for a new, safe start. Please help us with our goal of rescuing 6 refugees in 2016: donate here.