Nearly 300,000 people have fled North Korea, one of the most isolated and dangerous countries in the world. Learn more about this country and its refugee crisis.
  • Official name: Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK)
  • Capital: Pyongyang
  • Government: Centralized Communist state; one-man, one-party dictatorship of "Dear Leader" Kim Jong Il and the Korean Workers Party
  • Population: 22.7 million
  • More than 1 million North Koreans perished in a devastating famine in the mid-1990s.
  • 33 percent of the population is undernourished.
  • 37 percent of children are stunted, 23 percent are underweight and 7 percent are wasted away.
  • Up to 200,000 are unjustly imprisoned in Soviet style gulags
  • Prisoners in these camps experience extreme abuse, torture, rape, forced abortions and even executions
  • More than 400,000 have died in these political prison camps
  • Up to 300,000 refugees are hiding in China
  • Approximately 80 percent of North Korean refugees in China are women
  • Of these women, 70 to 90 percent end up sexually trafficked, sold repeatedly or forced into marriages.
  • These women can be bought for anywhere from a few hundred U.S, dollars up to $2,000.
Escaping North Korea is dangerous and life-threatening. Browse this photo gallery to learn more about the journey many refugees take.

Keep Reading
FROM: Held Captive for 140 Days: Lisa Ling's Sister Breaks Her Silence
Published on May 18, 2010
Please note that Harpo Productions, Inc., OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Discovery Communications LLC and their affiliated companies and entities have no affiliation with and do not endorse those entities or websites referenced above, which are provided solely as a courtesy. Please conduct your own independent investigation (including an investigation as to whether any contributions are tax deductible) before donating to any charity, project or organization. This information is provided for your reference only.


Next Story