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Freedom Collection

Interviews with Shin Dong-hyuk

Interviewed March 4, 2024

My name is Shin Dong-hyuk and I was born in North Korea in a political prison camp where I lived for 24 years. Then I escaped. Right now I am resettled and live in South Korea.

In North Korea there are laws, regardless of whether the law is good or bad for the people, and if that particular law is broken or the State considers it to have been broken, then the people are punished by being sent to prison camps.

But as far as young children and babies being born into prison camps, it is very rare for something like that to happen.

I think there are over 200 nations in this world, but the only nation where people are being born into prison camps and where generations are incarcerated into prison camps where they are born, live, and ultimately die in the prison camp.

I believe North Korea is the first, last and only nation to have such a system.

In the political prison camps of North Korea, a baby being born into the prison camp isn’t a simple thing.

There exists something called a reward or accommodation marriage whereby a prison inmate, considered to be a good worker, will be rewarded with a marriage ordered by the prison officials.

This so called “couple” will basically mate and have a baby, and this baby will be born into a life of being a prisoner because the baby´s parents were prisoners in the prison camp.