After fleeing North Korea , women get trapped as cybersex slaves in China
VIENTIANE (NYTIMES) - For more than two years, Lee Jin-hui, 20, was never allowed to leave a three-room apartment in northeast China. Seven days a week, she had to sit at a computer from noon to 5 a.m, performing sex acts before a webcam for male clients, mostly from South Korea.. Read more at straitstimes.com.
Each year, human smugglers take thousands of women seeking to flee North Korea, promising them jobs in China, according to human rights groups and trafficking survivors. But once in China, many of the women are sold to unmarried men in rural towns or to pimps for exploitation in brothels and cybersex dens.
"Girls aged as young as 9 are forced to perform graphic sex acts and are sexually assaulted in front of webcams, which are live-streamed to a paying global audience, many of whom are believed to be South Korean men," the report said.
Six days later, they arrived in Vientiane, Laos, with a man who was paid US$4,000 to smuggle them across the China-Laos border. Waiting for them was Reverend Chun Ki-won, a Christian pastor from South Korea who funded and orchestrated their rescue.
Kim toiled in a jade mine and later joined the unofficial market, selling fruits and South Korean clothes smuggled from China. Lee collected and sold wild herbs.
After changing hands twice between human traffickers, Lee ended up with a man who held five North Korean women captive in Helong, in northeast China.
The smuggler knew the path well, leading them across the icy, shallow river and through a hole under the border fence. After walking 12 hours through hills, the smuggler dug out a cellphone buried in the ground and made a call.
"She said I can go to South Korea after working for her three years," Kim said."I heard that in South Korea, you can live decently if you work real hard. That was all I was asking for." Some of Lee's South Korean clients asked her to do sex acts too dehumanising for her to describe.
Last December, a woman disappeared from Lee's place. The pimp said she had been lured away by organ traffickers and must be dead, leaving the other women terrified.
Despite her slavelike condition, Lee never thought of going back to North Korea. Her aim was to get to South Korea and make enough money to smuggle her mother and a younger sister out.
Chun later became a Christian missionary. Since 2000, he has brought 1,200 North Korean refugees in China to South Korea, including many women trafficked into forced marriages. In recent years, however, his Durihana mission in Seoul started receiving anonymous online messages from women trapped in cybersex dens in China, and calls from men who wanted to rescue them.
Around the same time, Chun got a call from a man who wanted to help Lee. She also got surprising news: The woman said to have been kidnapped by organ traffickers contacted her through a webcam site. She had jumped from their third-floor apartment and now lived in South Korea.
Chun then sent seven volunteers to China, including two trafficking survivors.
On that same August day in Helong, Lee slipped out of her room while her Chinese pimp was out for drinks. Through the window of the living room, she saw an air mattress and a rescuer beckoning. She climbed out, then hesitated.Read more: The Straits Times
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