North Korea’s official name is Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. In reality it is far from being a people’s republic. It is the world’s worst current example of a totalitarian state. The country is not for the people, but exists completely and only for the benefit of the Kim dynasty of leaders. No basic human rights exist in this failed state. The economy has collapsed and development is non-existent. Costly attempts to become a nuclear power and high military expenditure have depleted the country’s resources.
Under the ideology of Juche, the only acceptable religion is "Kim-Il-Sungism." The North Korean government is careful to maintain a show of religious freedom with the operation of four churches within its capital city, but it is a pitiful facade. As many as 200,000 prisoners languish in the gulags of North Korea, of which between 25% and 35% are estimated to be Christians.
It is no wonder then that escape attempts from North Korea are common. Many believers risk their lives as they cross the river and climb mountains, sometime in winter, when they suffer terribly from the intense cold. Should they successfully escape to China, they face another dilemma: human trafficking for forcible marriage or sexual exploitation. Further, defectors also face repatriation to North Korea if they are caught by Chinese police. There are many children left in China after mothers are taken back to North Korea.
All defectors live under constant stresses of being found by Chinese police and many escape from China to a 3rd country. Aid workers or missionaries are involved in rescuing them from China to countries such as Mongolia, Thailand, Vietnam, and Laos, to send them eventually to South Korea or other accepting countries. In the process, various dangers await: arrest by Chinese police, and the dangers associated with clandestine travel.
We are supporting a ministry that assists North Korean believers in various ways. Creative and effective means are being employed to directly help needy Christians both materially and spiritually. Further details cannot be given so as to preserve the safety of our partners and their relief programs.