Satellite images show the concentration camps in valleys tucked between mountain ranges in North Korea . Former prisoners say the camps are encircled by high-voltage electrified fences and have schools, barracks and work sites.
“Inmates there don’t even have time to try to catch and eat rats,” North Korean defector An Myeong-chul said in a recent interview in Seoul.
An said he served as a guard and driver at four camps before defecting in 1994. If a female inmate got pregnant, he said, she and her lover would be shot to death publicly. Then, An said, prison guards would cut open her womb, remove the fetus and bury it or feed it to guard dogs.
If babies are born many are killed, sometimes before the mother’s eyes, defectors say.