Daily NK has learned that a female resident of Hoeryong, North Hamgyong Province, who had been wanted on charges of trafficking more than 30 young women to China, was recently arrested. 

A source in North Hamgyong Province told Daily NK on Mar. 5 that “the woman, who escaped arrest for the human trafficking charges last year, was caught in Pyongsong [in South Pyongan Province] mid-last month and transferred to the provincial office of the Ministry of State Security.”  

“The woman, who was raising her two twin sons alone after her husband’s death, was alerted by signs pointing to her impending arrest for human trafficking by the Ministry of State Security about a year ago and fled with a large amount of money strapped to her body,” the source said.   

The Ministry of State Security had searched for the woman at her relatives’ homes, handed down arrest orders in the vicinity, and held her two sons hostage, but had been unable to locate her whereabouts for a year. 

Musan County, North Hamgyong Province residence
Musan County, North Hamgyong Province. / Image: Daily NK

Daily NK understands that the woman had been hiding in Pyongsong, where her sibling lives, and started a business with the money she brought with her. She had reportedly heard of her sons being held captive by the Ministry of State Security in Hoeryong through other channels and was arrested as she was passing a street in Pyongsong by a security officer guarding the road in early February.  

“The woman was eventually caught because she had a non-local accent typical for those living in the border regions,” the source explained. He added that “she could have used money to get herself out, but decided to turn herself in because of her sons held captive by the Ministry of State Security.” 

Daily NK understands that her two sons were tortured and beaten by the Ministry of State Security in order to secure evidence of the woman’s criminal activities and the origins of the other brokers who worked with her. The sons have reportedly also developed mental problems due to malnutrition. 

The source said that “the Ministry of State Security assumed that she had crossed the river to China due to the lack of any sign as to her whereabouts, but believed she would clearly come back for her children and as a result, [the Ministry of State Security] kept her sons in captivity.” He added that “the Ministry of State Security considers their decision to keep the sons captive as an effective move.”

According to the source, now that the woman was caught, there will likely be arrests of other brokers and border guards who were involved in human trafficking activities perpetrated by the woman. 

*Translated by Vilde Olaussen

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Kim Yoo Jin is one of Daily NK's freelance journalists. Please direct any questions about his articles to dailynkenglish@uni-media.net.