◆ Rural women and teenagers fresh out of high school forced into prostitution

According to a female reporting partner, speaking to ASIAPRESS on December 26 from Hyesan, the number of women forced into prostitution also surged in Ryanggang Province, prompting authorities there to begin a crackdown as well.

According to a survey conducted by the reporting partner, there are women from the city who do “personal work” through their mobile phones but there are also many women from nearby rural areas who are engaged at brothels. These women answer to a “head mom” and are said to receive 50-120 RMB per guest. This fee may rise to 300 yuan, depending on the age of the girl. (10 Chinese won is equivalent to 1,650 South Korean won). The reporting partner confirms that some of the sex workers are minors who have just graduated from high school.

Most prostitution takes place at the houses of merchants who spend the day at markets. To rent the house for the day, the “head mom” will usually pay the owner 20-30 RMB.

Most rural women come to work at the brothels in Hyesan in late fall, following the harvest. Before traveling, they tell their superiors at the cooperative farms that they “will be gone for 10-15 days to do business.” During this period they become engaged in prostitution under the command of the “head mom.”

“Here [in North Korea], it is really hard to sell yourself- it’s hard because everyone is living at the bottom. I even heard recently that a guest at a brothel bumped into his niece working there. The increase in homeless children and prostitutes over the past year is all due to the worsening economic conditions,” said the reporting partner.

※ ASIAPRESS contacts reporting partners in North Korea through smuggled Chinese mobile phones.

Editor’s notes on North Korean reporters

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