China was recently downgraded to the lowest rating by the Trafficking in Persons Office at the US State Department. This came as no surprise to us as we have been dealing with the human rights implications of China’s draconian policies toward North Korean refugees for over a decade. China was designated by the State Department as tier three, which is the lowest designation, putting the country in the same class as North Korea, Russia and Uzbekistan, among others.
Just as the State Department was releasing this report this year, we took in another North Korean orphan whose life has been affected by these policies.
“Meerae” was born to a Chinese father and a North Korean refugee mother. At the age of seven she witnessed her mother being hauled away by the Chinese police.
“I saw how my mom was captured in hand cuffs and was dragged away with the police,” Meerae said to our missionary. “I couldn’t say anything, couldn’t ask anything. My heart was hurting.”
Imagine being a child at the age of seven, witnessing your mother being hauled off by the police for a crime you couldn’t possibly understand at that age. This is the reality for not only Meerae but for tens of thousands of children with North Korean refugee mothers who have been born into this terrible situation.
China’s zero tolerance policy towards North Korean refugees has fed their sex trade industry. North Koreans are given no rights in China and because of this, they are prime targets for Chinese human trafficking rings.
Countries like China who share Tier 3 designation in the 2013 Trafficking in Persons Report do little to nothing change laws prohibiting human trafficking within their borders. Remember that China is the world’s largest country, home to 1.3 billion people. These are individuals who remain unprotected from human trafficking laws.
“... there are countless voiceless people, countless nameless people except to their families or perhaps a phony name by which they are being exploited, who look to us for their freedom and for the possibility of life itself,” Secretary of State, John Kerry said in a response to the Trafficking in Persons report this year.
As of last week, Meerae has been taken into the care of our ministry through our Second Wave program. She no longer has to worry where she will find her next meal or if she will be able to continue her education. But she still worries for her mother who she probably will never see again.
Please pray for Meerae. Please pray for the thousands of children like her. Please pray for the North Korean refugee women who are crushed under China’s policies. Please pray that God would move this nation to do what is just.