While helping North Koreans inside the country is difficult, we can reach those who have escaped and help bring them to safety and freedom. Over several years we have steadily garnered information about the escape routes from China to Southeast Asia and have established relationships in the “modern day underground railroad” that can help us move refugees across borders safely. After hearing countless stories of North Koreans who struggled to pay brokers to reach freedom, or women who were exploited along the journey, we decided to engage those networks and offer an alternative option for North Korean refugees to escape China without cost or condition. In addition to providing accommodation, transportation, food, and basic necessities, we especially worked hard to ensure that refugees would be treated with dignity and respect throughout the difficult journey. We estimated that it would cost about $2,500 and committed to covering that cost for every refugee that we helped.
$2500 IS WHAT IT TAKES TO RESCUE A REFUGEE THROUGH THE UNDERGROUND. HERE’S AN AVERAGE BREAKDOWN OF THE FUNDS.
In early 2010, we launched our first rescue mission and helped five refugees find safe passage to our shelter, including a 74 year old man and his 71 year old wife, who later reunited with their daughter in South Korea. Because of our supporters, and the dedication and commitment of our staff and partners in the field, we are able to continue these rescue missions, helping more and more North Koreans find freedom, reunite with families, and begin new lives.
North Korean refugees are playing an important role providing valuable information about North Korea and also acting as bridges back into the country – sending money to their families and information about the outside world, helping to break down the regime’s propaganda and increasing the pressure for change from within.
Until the conditions inside North Korea are radically transformed, the people will continue to risk their lives to leave, and we will continue in our efforts to provide assistance to them.