"An estimated 20,000 North Korean children are orphaned and adrift in other countries because their parents died while escaping the North or because they were abandoned by their North Korean mothers and fathers from third countries, mainly China. Only 100 of them have been brought to South Korea and recognized so they can receive medical and educational benefits. Neither South Korea nor the countries of their fathers are interested in caring for them."
~ from an article taken from the Chosun Ilbo (a South Korean daily) on March 11th
Many of these children flee North Korea through China to southern countries only to be sold into slavery or the sex trade. Others are captured and returned to North Korea shutting them essentially into concentration camps. At this point in time there is no legal way to adopt one of these children, and no country seems to be taking responsibility for them, passing them off or shutting them away in pitiful orphanages.
You can read the full Chosun Ilbo article here. It breaks my heart to know that so many children, and adults as well, must feel like there is no hope for them.
While the pain I've felt for these children has been ongoing, I've also recently started to learn more about how they are susceptible to the slave trade. Last week we had the privilege to listen to David Batstone discuss modern day slavery at our church in Seoul. His organization, Not For Sale, has a lot of information on slavery in the world and what we can do to stop it. I really think it's worth a look ~ and I've just started reading his book, which I can't wait to discuss.
Here's a note: more than 70% of slaves are female, and %50 are children.
So to those of you reading this, I ask you to take a moment to pray for North Korea and its orphans and that South Korean people and government would really agree on a way to help and accept these children. Also check out the Not For Sale website. If you have some time, it's worth it to listen to or watch to the sermon from OEM's Freedom Sunday ~March 14th.