SEOUL — The operators of a South Korean web broadcasting service where women, mostly North Korean defectors, perform lewd acts have been indicted for circulating pornography, a local prosecutor said on Monday.
The web broadcasting service operated in cooperation with defection brokers in China to find defector women who would be filmed performing sex acts, the Western Branch of the Daegu District Public Prosecutors’ Office said.
Most of the subjects, who are called BJ (Broadcasting Jockey), were North Korean defectors, the suspects told the prosecution. They were forced to perform sex acts in front of webcams under threat of deportation back to the North.
The suspects are believed to have made profits by setting up private channels displaying explicit webcam shows for those who paid the broadcaster with items that can be purchased on the websites.
Since the items they received can easily be converted into cash, broadcasters have been encouraged to get more items from the audience by through more and more explicit content.
One such service had more than 100,000 users and their combined revenue reached as high as 3.3 billion won (about $3 million) in three years.
The trafficking of defected North Korean women has been a persistent issue that is very hard to solve, a human rights activist said.
“(Human trafficking) is in most cases an organized crime and very hard to be addressed from the civilian side since gangs of thugs are behind these crimes,” Citizens’ Alliance for North Korean Human Rights advisor Lee Young-hwan told NK News.
Judicial cooperation between China and Korea is needed to resolve the issue but the rehabilitation of victims should be the focus of the cooperation, Lee said. “If authorities take the wrong approach, even victims could be treated like criminals in these kinds of (sex-related) cases.”