North Korea has abducted more than 180,000 people

By Joshua Keating

North Korea’s abduction of high-profiles individuals like the U.S. Army deserter Charles Jenkins or the South Korean filmmaker Shin Sang Ok have received plenty of media attention, but they were just the most prominent examples of a decades-long kidnapping campaign by the regimes of Kim Il Sung and Kim Jong il.

The campaign began around 1946 when Kim Il Sung proclaimed that “In order to solve the shortage of intellectuals, we have to bring intellectuals from South Korea.” (A fairly innocuous statement unless you take it literally.) The kidnappings began in earnest during the Korean War and accelerated following the war when a devastated North Korea needed to replenish its stock of farmers, miners, and factory workers.

A new report from the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea documents the extent on the abduction campaign.

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