ABOVE THE LAW

North Korean Women Used as ‘Sex Toys’ by Government Officials, Report Finds

Officials in Kim Jong Un’s government commit sexual violence against North Korean women with near total impunity, according to a new Human Rights Watch report. The report is based on interviews with 62 North Koreans who fled the country and provided detailed accounts of rape and sexual abuse committed by government officials, which they say is part of every day life in the country. “They consider us [sex] toys. We are at the mercy of men,” said Oh Jung-hee, a former trader. Perpetrators include party officials, prison facility guards, police and soldiers. The women interviewed for the report said that when an official “picked” a woman she would have no choice but to comply. Park Young-hee said she was abused by a police official in a detention facility after she was caught fleeing the country. “He made me sit very close to him... [and] also touched me between the legs... several times during different days,” she said. “My life was in his hands, so I did everything he wanted. How could I do anything else?”