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2011/08/25  Nam Sul-Hee
North Korean Women Seek Defection for Aids Treatment

-Attemt to find treatment for virus in China
-Contract virus while working as prostitutes in markets
-Men unknowingly contract virus in marketplace as aids rate goes up

According to a source in Musan district, North Hamgyeong province on August 13th, three women in their twenties who attempted to defect in an effort to seek treatment for the aids virus were arrested by border guards and detained in a National Security Agency Detention Center.

“The three detained women”, said the source, “caught the virus while engaged in prostitution in the markets. They tried all available methods of treatment they could in the North but their condition failed to improve, so they tried to defect to China for effective treatment.”

The source said that having graduated school in Chongjin, North Hamgyeong, the three young women couldn’t find work. Under the guise of running a bar in Chongjin market they began selling sex.

“Traders come to Chongjin from all across the country to sell goods in the marketplace there,” said the source. “Many are male customers who also want to buy sex after they’ve been drinking. Alcohol sellers are aware of their customers’ double motives for attending their establishments and so supply them with prostitutes. Naturally as sales have gone up in the markets, it has provided an opportunity to make more money this way.”

A number of women who contracted the aids virus continued selling sex even after they knew of their illness, so spreading the infections both in number and distribution, as their male customers returned to their home provinces and cities. Condoms and other methods of contraception are lacking in North Korea according to defector testimony.

“Even though their condition has visibly worsened, the arrested women have merely been transferred to a regular prison,” added the source.

Numerous North Korea related media organizations have reported the existence of prostitution in North Korea. It occurs not just in Pyongyang and Sinuiju but in cities across the country. Cost varies according to activity and location and can be anywhere between $20 to $100.

Translated by Danny Lee