New Coronavirus outbreak in NE China puts NK sex-trafficked women at risk of starvation

The biggest worry today for North Korean women in Northeast China is not Coronavirus but starvation.

A new outbreak of Coronavirus in Northeast China’s Jilin Province has led authorities there to restrict travel and institute additional control measures. The new measures make it nearly impossible for North Korean sex-trafficked women there to feed their families.

Now even in the smallest markets and towns, in order to purchase food, ID cards are required. Of course the North Korean women don’t have ID cards because they were sex-trafficked to China illegally.

North Korean women living alone there are especially at risk. Some of the women’s husbands have died or abandoned them, or they have escaped abusive situations. Since ID cards are now required for food purchase, they cannot buy food to eat. They have no relatives who are legally able to purchase food for them. If they go to the market without ID cards, they can be reported and sent back to North Korea, where they will be severely punished.

By the grace of God, Voice of the Martyrs Korea anticipated the possible lockdown and has so far purchased a 7-month supply of food for 13 North Korean women and their families. But the number of North Korean women in the area is far greater. There are hundreds of sex-trafficked North Korean women in Jilin Province. They are spread all over the countryside, in very isolated areas. They have no one to turn to for help even when times are good. Now, under these lockdown conditions, they need all the prayers and assistance we can offer.

North Korean women are sold to impoverished Chinese men living in poor conditions. Because they are not living in China legally and the men who bought them are afraid they may be returned to North Korea if caught, these women are often hidden completely from public view. They are especially susceptible to the Coronavirus because they do not receive medical care or protection. That is why Voice of the Martyrs Korea also sent masks, medicine, and other supplies to the women in the area, including audio Bibles. Food and masks and medicine are helpful for their health, but only the word of God can bring them hope. We know the North Korean sex-trafficked women really appreciate the food and supplies we are sending, but it is always the audio Bibles that they thank us for specifically.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea is raising funds to purchase food and other supplies to reach additional North Korean sex-trafficked women in Northeast China. 13 families is just a drop in the bucket. We need to do more, as quickly as possible. Last time we sent aid, we were able to get it in the day before deliveries were stopped. We need to pray that deliveries remain possible in this area, and that we can reach as many of these North Korean sex-trafficked women as possible, providing what is needed for their physical and spiritual health.

150 USD can provide the basic staples needed for one of these families to feed itself for the next seven months.

Whatever funds are raised in this emergency appeal, we will use to provide food, care items, and Christian discipleship resources for the North Korean sex-trafficked women in Northeast China and their families.

VOMK supporters can make a donation to support these North Korean sex-trafficked women. Please be sure to indicate “COVID” on your donation. We are hoping to have all of the donations for this emergency project in hand by May 31.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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