Why North Korean Sex Trafficking Thrives in China

“Woe to the rebellious children,” says the LORD,
“Who take counsel, but not of Me,
And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit,
That they may add sin to sin…”
–Isaiah 30:1

Isaiah was prophesying to the people of Israel. They were at this time far from God, though there was (and always will be) a remnant that still feared Him. Isaiah puts his finger on something specific that they were doing, and tells us why they were doing it.

They were devising plans apart from God. They did not want His counsel, did not seek His counsel, and would not take His counsel. In other words, they did not want to know God’s idea about how to do things. They did not want to hear His thoughts, His mind on an issue. They were careful to plan-“take counsel…devise plans…”-but neither the planning or the advice in the planning came from God.

It was not of His Spirit. Which tells us it was from their flesh. Then Isaiah uncovers the purpose of it all, the reason they did not want God involved in their plan… They planned in order to add sin to sin. Where they had already strayed, they strayed more. Where they had rebelled, rebellion increased through their plans and counsel. Where they had erred greatly, they now erred profoundly by not doing things according to God’s mind, by His Spirit. Please notice that God is speaking to a nation, not an individual.

Nations still do the same thing today. They take an idea that is already bad, and make it worse by excluding God from it. The North Korean bride/sex trafficking industry in China is an illustration of this. For decades China has had a well known “one child” policy. The communist government, in an effort to control the population, mandated that married couples are only allowed to have one child. Forced abortions take place when additional children are conceived. The Scripture teaches that, “children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb is a reward.” (Psalm 127:3). In China, the fruit of the womb is a penalty, not a reward. Not seeking counsel from God has proven catastrophic for China-and especially for its unfortunate neighbor, North Korea.

In Chinese culture it is far more desirable to have a son because the son bears the responsibility of taking care of the parents when they are older. Couples who find out they are having a girl will often have a selective abortion. Many would love to have a girl, but since they are only allowed one, they need to make sure they are not on the streets when they are older. This has resulted in China having far more adult men than adult women. Subsequent pregnancies without a permit result in forced abortions.

The result of this anti-child policy is that there are 33,000,000 more men than women in China. Yes, that’s Million. This means the women have their pick, and the most undesirable bachelor’s remain unmarried. Unmarried with no family, no children, no one to carry on the family name, and no one to pass your livelihood on to. In China, those who are still bachelors are those who are poor, handicapped, mentally ill, come from low class, etc.

That is the condition in China, and it has been for decades. So, when famine forced hundreds of thousands of North Korean women over the border into China looking for food to feed their children and families, a man-made humanitarian disaster was born. The man-made famine caused by the North Korean regime, and the man-made “one-child” problem caused by the Chinese regime, were the perfect storm to create one of the worlds largest black markets for women.

Estimates are that between 100,000 and 300,000 North Koreans are living in China, with 75-90% of them being women. About 90% of those women are trafficked. The reason that so many North Korean women are trafficked is because so many Chinese men are not married. Very often an entire family will pool their money together to “purchase” a woman for a son. Women who are not sold as brides are sold into prostitution.

Sometimes if a man is too poor to buy a North Korean woman for himself, he will go in with other men to purchase her together. She lives as a slave/concubine not knowing who will abuse her from day to day.

When China created their “one-child” policy, nobody would have ever thought it would be the source of a black-market for female sex-slaves that is over 100,000 strong. But so it is when we do not take counsel of the Lord, when we devise plans, but not by His Spirit. It only heaps sin upon sin.

The good news is that God is at work. Working with local believers and a network of rescuers the Lord is redeeming many out of this cruel, barbaric, and oppressive bondage. When the women are rescued immediately out of their situation, they are often taken to a safe house where they rest, and are introduced to the Bible and the gospel of Christ. They are literally in the process of being redeemed out of bondage as they are introduced to the One who Redeems out of a bondage nobody else can free us from. They are rescued to meet the Rescuer.

People may add sin to sin, but God adds grace to sin-so that where sin abounds grace abounds all the more.