As of the last quarter of 2016, the number of North Korean resettlers who escaped to South Korea reached 30,000 people. They all came with a help of someone. With the Winter approaching, life in North Korea becomes tough and many more try their luck through the frozen Yalu or Tumen Rivers.
So far this year, we have been able to raise funds to rescue over 50 people and provided indirect assistance such as food, clothing and medicines to those who reached for help.
Here are three stories and pleas for help written by very young women whom we managed to rescue recently with a generous help of people of good-will like you. They were all victims of forced marriage in China. Such marriage is not officially recognized by authorities, and if the women are discovered they are repatriated back to North Korea to face punishment and imprisonment for crossing the border. They will also be separated with their children in China.
Min-jeong – Female, in her twenties
Still in NK: her little brother
I escaped seven years ago. When we were living in Pyongyang my father was an instructor of physical education, until one day he was expelled and banished from Pyongyang to another city. When I was in Pyongyang, I was training to be a swimmer. After we left Pyongyang, my father developed a disease and died. My mother escaped to China before me and came back for me later – but when I escaped I was taken in the border area and sold elsewhere – so I never met my mother there. Since I was far from my mother, I couldn’t see her face and I had no idea where she was – but after a while, I found out about her location from my little brother who was still in North Korea. That whole time, my heart was broken with worry since I knew my mother was waiting for me and I couldn’t hear any news of her.
Even though I couldn’t communicate with the Chinese, I was then force to marry and had a child with a Mongolian man with customs different than my own. Now my son is 3 years old. At first my husband was very poor, so we worked together in a restaurant and did everything we could under the stars to build a home. That’s how we lived. The most difficult part of it all was the harsh tyrannical behavior I experienced from men. I am so lucky that I was able to find my mother. She was living not so far away so we were able to meet. My mother was also sold to be remarried and had a baby. Currently, our family is all separated again. Please, I implore you to save me first, so I can help my mother who is in dire need. I’m constantly in tears.
Ji-a – Female, in her twenties
Orphaned and alone, I lived on the street until the age of 13. I have no idea what kind of work my parents did. I only remember being alone in my house. Please don’t ask me about that time – I hate even to think of it. When I was 13, I fought with the other street-orphans and decided to just escape by myself.
When I got to China I met a young man who took me somewhere where I could make a living as a housekeeper, just working jobs by the day. Even though they treated me well, I now have a six year old son and I have no choice but to leave. I don’t have any money or anywhere to stay. If you could please help me quickly, I would be so grateful. There was woman refugee living in our neighborhood who was like an aunt to me. She’s the one who put me in touch with you. I want to go to Korea and live a good life.
Yu-jin – Female, in her twenties
Still in NK: her father, mother, sibling
My father worked as a laborer in a lumber processing yard. I have a mother and a younger sibling. After leaving college, I was unemployed. I followed my good friend out of North Korea in 2015 and found work in a local shop. This was extremely lucky. But we didn’t receive cash for the work we did, so I couldn’t send money back home to North Korea. My mother must really miss me and worry about me. I want to help her as soon as I possibly can. I can’t believe that people would help us. I ask for your help most respectfully, so that I can go to South Korea, where I hope to study and become a judge. Please save me, so I can see that day. I will be praying.
Please note that for security reasons this project cannot attach any photos.