During the past four or five years, I have met probably one hundred people who have escaped from North Korea. Some of them … are children repeatedly crossing the border.
These children repeatedly crossing the border are in tragic condition. For example, a 20-year-old boy looks like he is only 15 years old, or a 17-year-old boy looks only 11. A 16-year-old girl who looked 11 didn't even know about menstruation. Her classmates and seniors looked like they had completely stopped growing.
One 10-year-old girl had crossed the border fifteen times. … If they are arrested, they are beaten and threatened, even tortured. One boy was attacked by a thief who left a sword scar on his face.
We clothed those children, who had neither underwear nor socks, and who had no alternative but sleep in open fields in temperatures of -30 degrees centigrade (-22 degrees Fahrenheit). We also bathed them (most looked like they had not bathed for five years, judging from the thickness of their grime). They had never seen shampoo. We fed them, and interviewed them to find out how their parents had died or been killed.
We found how limited our options were for helping those children; we could do nothing but shed helpless tears for the tragic circumstances of these children.