Tag Archives: China

Buy a North Korean Woman for Less Than a Used Car

by Amanda Kloer

The global recession has affected China like every other country in the world. But despite a dip in the Chinese economy, at least one imported product remains affordable there: North Korean women. In China, a woman can be imported from North Korea for about $1500, less than the price of a decent used car. And the business of trafficking women from North Korea to China is booming.

Korea estimates that anywhere from 50,000 to 100,000 people from North Korea are currently living in China. Of those, about 80% are women. And of the women, almost 90% have been trafficked at some point or are currently victims of trafficking. For the most part, these women are trafficked into marriages. The one child policy in China has created a generation where men greatly outnumber women and Chinese wives are hard to come by. So Chinese men who want to get married are forced to look elsewhere. Some try to meet foreign women through legitimate means. But others just buy a wife from North Korea and have her shipped over, like an imported wine. Or rather, a piece of imported meat.

Sex trafficking is also going strong, serving the Chinese men who are looking to get laid rather than married. Sometimes, women are offered jobs in the Chinese tech industry. Those jobs turn out to be stripping for Internet webcasts and/or forced prostitution. North Korean women who are forced into prostitution face even more risks than those forced into marriages, because if caught, they face additional punishments back home.

Both the forced marriages and the sex trafficking are leading to a generation of Chinese-Korean children without a clear home. The children of trafficked women and their husbands or johns often end up not just homeless, but stateless as well. Usually, this happens when the Korean mother is caught in China without proper documentation and deported to North Korea, often to prison or a labor camp where she can’t bring the child. If the Chinese father doesn’t take responsibility for the child, then the kid ends up an orphan which no parent or country able and willing to take care of him or her.

The cross-border trafficking of women from North Korea to China has become an epidemic in the truest sense to the word. It’s spreading farther into both countries than the border region and infecting thousands of women. It’s even affecting a new generation of children, living without a family or a country to call home.

Photo credit: benjamin_mercadier


China’s Wife Shortage Threatens to Increase Human Trafficking


Over the next decade, China will become a nation of bachelors, as the gender gap grows to 24 million more marriage-eligible men than women. Does this mean a huge spike in sales of Ikea futons and a run on Shanghai Hooters franchises? Maybe. But it also likely means there will be a increase in the trafficking of women to China to serve as wives and be enslaved in commercial sex. And here’s why.

The Chinese gender gap was created by China’s one-child-per-family policy, which was initially instituted to keep the population down. However, because boy children are valued more than girl children in many parts of Chinese society, millions of families chose to abort female fetuses until they got a male child. Thus, for generations, many more boys than girls were born in China. It took Chinese officials a long time to realize (and even longer to admit) that maybe having a country full of testosterone-charged young men unable to find a date was not good for political or economic stability. But by then, it was too late, and the gender gap had become a reality.

So why will the Chinese gender gap lead to an increase in human trafficking in the region? First, some of those 24 million single men will want wives. And when they can’t find Chinese wives, they’ll look to import them from other countries in the region, where women are looking for an opportunity to live and work in a more affluent country. Of the international marriage brokers who step in and fill this gap, some will be committed to the woman’s safety. But many will be out make a quick buck, regardless of the client’s criminal background or other concerns, and others will simply kidnap, coerce, or deceive women to fill the demand for wives.

Secondly, some of those 24 million men will want to have sex. And they’ll begin to import women for commercial sex, just like for marriage. Some women may travel to China voluntarily for prostitution, but traffickers will also see an opportunity to make money off selling women for sex against their will. In addition to Chinese male demand for wives and commercial sex increasing trafficking, some researchers have predicted that lower-income men will have particular problem finding wives, leading to an uptick in crime in the region.

What began as a population-reduction policy a few decades ago has produced in China demand for human trafficking and a population of possible traffickers. The globalization of those decades and a number of other factors have produced a supply of potential victims from nearby countries. The Chinese government could not have built a situation more ripe for an explosion of rampant slavery had they intended to. Trafficking is a significant problem in China now, but much of it is internal. I think there will be a tipping point in China — maybe this year and maybe not for several more — that opens the floodgates of international trafficking in women.

The only lining in this cloud (which is more pewter than silver) is that I’ve come up with a great pitch for a new Fox reality show: 1 beautiful woman. 24 million eligible men. It’s The Bachelorette: Beijing.

Photo credit: schmeeve