U.S. Department of State 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report - North Korea

North Korea (Tier 3)

The Democratic People's Republic of Korea (North Korea) is primarily a source country for persons trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Economic and political conditions in North Korea drive large numbers of Koreans to seek a way out of the country, putting them at risk of victimization by traffickers. Women who enter Northern China may be sold as brides and exploited into prostitution. The Government of North Korea carries out widespread forced labor abuses within the country. North Koreans are transported to work in isolated regions in Russia, under circumstances of forced labor exploitation, in order to pay down the North Korean government's foreign debt to Moscow.

The Government of North Korea does not fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and is not making significant efforts to do so. North Korea does not recognize that trafficking in persons is a problem; in fact, the government profits from the labor of trafficking victims.


The government does not take measures to prevent trafficking.


There are no reports of government efforts to prosecute traffickers.


There are no reports that the Government of North Korea takes measures to protect victims of trafficking. In fact, North Koreans who were victimized by traffickers and later returned to their country may face detention and interrogation from government authorities.


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