On Monday, journalists Laura Ling and Euna Lee were sentenced to 12 years of hard labor in a North Korean prison. This morning, Blaine Harden in The Washington Post shares the probable reason: they were researching an article on the plight of women who, fleeing famine and poverty in North Korea, crossed the border into China. (You may have to create an account to read the Post article, but the account is free and takes only a minute to set up.)
Many of these refugee women ended up "being sold like livestock in China," according to one refugee who was sold in marriage to three men, sent back to North Korea, permanently maimed from a police beating, and then sent to a labor camp that she characterized as "hell on earth."
Actually, says a South Korean human-rights researcher, most of the women are much better off in China than they were in North Korea. If they stay with the men who buy them, they are given adequate food and housing. However, they and most of their children have no legal status. ...1