Sometimes the burden of lifting women’s status around the world seems too great to achieve. Still no alternative exists but to try. In some countries large numbers of women are little more than slaves. This is the case for North Korean women when they are caught trying to reach South Korea through China. Eager to escape hunger and poverty, they find themselves being trafficked in a foreign land. The reason, according to writer Susan Mcclelland, stems from China’s former one child policy that lasted 30 years. During that period when faced with a choice, Chinese parents, preferred boys over girls — which meant “millions of female infants were killed” in the hope the next child would be a boy . (No Safe Haven,” by Susan Mcclelland, Ms., Winter 2016, pg. 15.)
Decades of murdering girl babies has radically altered China’s gender statistics. Some villages in China exist where no woman is present. Bachelor villages, they are called. China’s official policy is to repatriate anyone caught escaping from North Korea. In reality, when caught, many North Korean woman are trafficked to serve men. Marriage to these women is forbidden, which leaves them without a legal status. If they are brutalize, the law refuses to intervene.
Worse, children born from these unions are denied Chinese citizenship. Officially, they are stateless with no right to an education, healthcare or any government assistance. If the children’s mothers are repatriated to North Korean, the children remain behind with no one to care for or protect them. Nonetheless, the wave of migration continues. “…70 percent of people reaching South Korea every year are women.” (Ibid pg. 15) Those who make it through are the lucky ones. The rest will live enslaved lives. Aid workers worry that as conditions In North Korean grow worse, trafficking will increase.
That so many people in this world live in a state of homelessness, lacking food, shelter, or judicial protection is one example of the hell we humans are prepared to make of this earth. We play havoc with the environment, expose it to poisons and lethal weapons and show an immense disregard for each other. That we will destroy ourselves seems inevitable. When we do, I suspect Mother earth will say of her miss-begotten experiment, “Good riddance.”
(Originally published 12/27/16)