Friday, March 11, 2011

Vast numbers of North Korean orphans

Thousands of North Korean orphans are adrift in South Korea or overseas, separated from their parents during their escape or born to fathers in third countries like China and abandoned there.

Kim Yun-tae of activist group Network for North Korean Democracy, said, "Each organization produces different estimates because it's difficult to conduct an accurate census, but there are thought to be between 10,000 and 35,000 of such children in China and other foreign countries or living in South Korea." 

Those who were separated from their parents during their escape and escaped on their own to South Korea are in a slightly better situation. But "children born in third countries such as China ... can't get any support as defectors in South Korea because they cannot be seen as defectors in a strict sense," a Unification Ministry official said. 

Women account for 70 percent of all defectors, and they often fall prey to human traffickers. Civic groups estimate that up to 10,000 children were born and abandoned in China alone.

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