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N. Korea remains on worst-human trafficking nation list

WASHINGTON (Yonhap News) -- Despite North Korea's reported tightening of border security to block the defection of its hunger-stricken people, the communist nation has made no efforts to prevent human trafficking by screening migrants along its porous border with China and Russia, the U.S. said Monday.

In its annual Global Trafficking in Persons report, the State Department ranked North Korea once again in Tier 3 for countries with poorest record of fighting human trafficking. A total of 23 nations, including 11 new ones, were included in the list.

"Although press reports indicated that border security increased during the reporting period, there was no evidence that the government attempted to prevent human trafficking by screening migrants along the border," it read. "Nor did the government differentiate between trafficking and illegal migration or defection."

The department, however, reiterated most of its descriptions in the previous report for the overall trafficking situation in North Korea, a veiled communist nation where media outlets are strictly controlled and information gathering by the outside world is very difficult.

North Korea is a "source country for men, women, and children who are subject to forced labor, forced marriage and sex trafficking," the report said.

"North Korean women who make their own way to China are lured, drugged, or kidnapped by traffickers upon arrival," it added.

"Trafficking networks of Korean-Chinese and North Koreans (usually

men) operate along the China-North Korean border, reportedly working with Chinese and North Korean border guards to recruit women for marriage or prostitution in China." (Yonhap News)

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