The punishment for North Korean defectors has intensified since Kim Jong Eun issued the order: “Exterminate three generations of anyone who tries to defect during the mourning period for Kim Jong Il.”
A source from North Hamkyung Province quoted a guard of a labor-training camp, “The labor-training camps have become like political prison camps (Kwanliso). Recently in the labor-training camps they tortured the defectors severely and they refuse to let people go outside even for a short time. Inmates’ families can’t visit their family members that are imprisoned in the camps.”
The labor-training camps usually force ideological education and forced labor from six months to two years for the defectors who simply defected due to their hunger, without attempting to head for the South, or did not otherwise commit severe crimes. Inmates were allowed to see their family and go out for half the day or a day if their family members passed away or other household issues arose. It was completely different from political prison camps.
While the labor-training camps operate like prison camps, the female inmates have also been exposed to harrowing sexual harassment. The source reported, “There are many guards who think ‘If women try to betray the country, they don’t deserve to be treated as ladies.’ Therefore it is very common for guards to sexually violate female prisoners. This tendency has prevailed in the camps.”