North Korean and Chinese border guards play a vital part in the trafficking of North Korean women to China, the Asahi Shimbun reported on Thursday.
In a feature report, the Japanese daily quoted a Chinese border guard as testifying he caught a few female North Korean defectors in their teens and 20s crossing the Tumen River and handed them over to a Korean-Chinese human trafficker.
The Chinese border guard said he gets requests from a trafficker in China and informs his North Korean counterparts, who then ask a trafficker in the North to find suitable women. The North Korean guards then let the women pass in the area on the Chinese guard's watch. This particular Chinese border guard alone had sold some 40 to 50 women per year this way.
The Chinese guard added, "If they are told they can eat to their hearts' content [in China], many North Korean women are happy to be on their way."
An estimated 150 human traffickers work in the border area.