The North Korean authorities consider both prostitution and drugs to be serious problems and are actively seeking ways to combat them, according to an internal document obtained by The Daily NK.
Obtained on the 28th, the document, “Measures against Young Women Earning Money through Prostitution,” produced internally by the People’s Safety Ministry (PSM), reveals that the PSM has instructed local offices to crackdown on prostitution and drug-related crimes more vigorously.
This document was reportedly distributed to provincial committees of the Party and local PSM offices in July this year.
According to the document, “Anti-socialist phenomenon, young women and college students taking part in prostitution included, are appearing,” adding, “Strong measures to overcome this situation must be prepared.”
“At commuting times, women in large groups have been seen taking part in prostitution around bus stops or train stations,” the document states. “Law enforcement officials must not yield to these actions.”
The PSM document also focuses on drug crimes, reporting that, “The circulation and use of illegal drugs is increasing. We must establish measures to overcome drug-related activities.”
The document represents a tacit admission by the PSM that both prostitution and drug use have expanded to the point of becoming social problems in North Korea, a fact which the authorities have never admitted publicly.
As in many other countries, economic difficulties in North Korea tend to lead to an increase in the number of young women entering prostitution, because it represents one of the few ways to make ends meet. Inside North Korea sources say that the March of Tribulation led to a significant increase in prostitute numbers, and last year’s confiscatory currency redenomination is said to have had a similar effect.
As a result, sources say that regardless of the authorities’ will to crack down on prostitution and other illegal activities, it will be impossible because they are now an ingrained part of North Korean society.
Furthermore, even though public trials of persons accused of prostitution-related offences are held regularly in provincial areas, the law is unable to reach the most powerful prostitution rings because they are tacitly protected by paid-off PSM officials.