Two Rescues Recently Completed
Today we want to update you about two recent successful rescues while also letting you know about two more critical cases which demand immediate attention. Thanks to many of our friends and supporters’ contributions over the course of the summer, we are happy to announce that we were able to raise enough funds for our rescue program to share with you that Ms. Mi Kyong Park, 19, (all names in this article are assumed names) and Ms. Kyong Hui Kim, 45, are now in a safe place and expect to reach South Korea in about two months.
Ms. Park went to China in 2014 at the age of 16 after her father was arrested and her mother fell ill and later passed away. Hoping to start a business in China to raise money to send her family, she was instead caught by human traffickers, sold, and ended up giving birth to a child. She later escaped but was then caught and arrested and forced to give up her child. Eventually she was able to contact NKinUSA, who helped her reach safety.
Ms. Kim first escaped North Korea to China in 2012 after her young son died of malnutrition. She hoped to work and earn money in China but was caught and sold into human trafficking. Attempting to make her way to South Korea, she was twice captured and repatriated to North Korea, eventually escaping back to China after each time. Ms. Kim later learned that her nearly 70 year old mother was charged with helping her defect and taken to a forced labor detention facility. Her mother died just two months after being released.
We’re grateful that Ms. Park and Ms. Kim made it to safety and especially thankful for your help making it happen. We wish them the best as they begin new lives in South Korea soon.
Unfortunately, these two woman also received some bad news…
We were saddened to learn that another woman travelling with Ms. Park and Ms. Kim passed away. They met this woman while in hiding, but she became ill and was unable to escape with them. Ms. Park and Ms. Kim were forced to go on without her and she remained in China. With no outside support available to this woman, she could not afford to receive any medical treatment. As an undocumented fugitive from the Chinese security services, she was in imminent danger of repatriation to North Korea if discovered. Unable to receive treatment or seek any help, she passed away.
This person’s tragedy reminds us once again how precarious daily life is for North Koreans struggling to find their way to freedom and safety while hiding in China. And we can only hope that we are able to raise enough money to help other refugees like this woman get the help they need…
Two More Urgent Rescues
Now, we are focused on two more cases that demand our urgent attention.
Ms. Kyong Ok Kang, 50, defected to China for the first time in 1998 and was eventually repatriated six times. After her last repatriation in 2012 the North Koreans learned that Ms. Kang has relatives in South Korea and Canada and, as a result, her family members in North Korea were sent to political prison camps. Ms. Kang herself avoided the fate of being labeled a political prisoner after paying a bribe and was instead incarcerated at a regular prison for four years. After her release, Ms. Kang’s relatives in South Korea managed to contact her and raise funds to help her escape to China by selling their house and other properties. With her family’s help, Ms. Kang made it to China and was able to seek medical treatment for the hardships and torture she suffered while in prison. She still has difficulty walking as a result of her time in prison. She is hoping for the opportunity to complete her journey to South Korea, but the funds her family raised were all spent on her escape from North Korea and her medical treatment. NKinUSA was contacted and has agreed to help fund her escape from China.
Ms. Choi, 19, was trafficked when she was 15, sold to a disabled man, and gave birth to a baby at age 16. In June of this year the baby, age 3, drowned accidentally when both mother and child were playing at a brook. Afterwards the Chinese man and his parents abused her daily. Fearful, she hid in different places every day until a sympathetic neighbor helped her escape. Later, Ms. Choi met an older woman who let her stay at her house, where she could access the internet and contact NKinUSA. Since then, Ms. Choi has discovered that she is pregnant again and is suffering from morning sickness and physical weakness. Due to her medical condition, NKinUSA is in the process of securing safe housing for Ms. Choi and will continue to support her during her pregnancy. We are committed to bringing this young woman and her baby to freedom.
On average it costs around $3,000 to guide a North Korean refugee to safety through China, which is what we spent for Ms. Park and Ms. Kim. Sometimes extenuating circumstances make it much more expensive. NKinUSA remains committed to doing what we can to help North Korean refugees complete the treacherous journey through Asia to safety and freedom; assisting those refugees already in the United States resettle and build new lives; and spreading the word about the horrendous human rights situation in North Korea. We still need help from you, our friends and supporters, to make that happen, however. All contributions, large and small, are welcome and very much appreciated and will continue to go to helping North Korean refugees.
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