A Cross-cultural Textual Analysis of Western and South Korean Newspaper Coverage of North Korean Women Defectors and Victims of Human Trafficking

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Trafficking women for sexual abuse has been a serious concern worldwide, particularly over the last two decades. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that illicit profits of human trafficking may be as high as $32 billion. However, the international media community has scarcely focused on North Korean women defectors and victims of human trafficking, despite the severity of the issue. More than two million North Koreans, predominantly women, have crossed borders to enter China from starvation. Among those women migrants, about 80% to 90% of them were abducted by traffickers at the border between North Korea and China, and the ... continued below

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Chong, Miyoung May 2014.

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  • Chong, Miyoung

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Trafficking women for sexual abuse has been a serious concern worldwide, particularly over the last two decades. The International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that illicit profits of human trafficking may be as high as $32 billion. However, the international media community has scarcely focused on North Korean women defectors and victims of human trafficking, despite the severity of the issue. More than two million North Koreans, predominantly women, have crossed borders to enter China from starvation. Among those women migrants, about 80% to 90% of them were abducted by traffickers at the border between North Korea and China, and the traffickers sold them to the Chinese sex industry or Chinese men who are unable to find a woman as a wife or a sex slave.This cross-cultural textual analysis examined South Korean and Western (U.S. and British) newspaper coverage of North Korean women as victims of human trafficking to discover similarities and differences in those countries’ news frames. The analysis has shown that politics was a crucial factor in the coverage of the issue. However, by generally failing to report on the fundamental causes of the trafficking, such as inequality between genders, both Western and South Korean newspapers perpetuated hegemonic masculinity and failed to inform and educate people about the grave situations of North Korean women defectors and victims of human trafficking. This study recommends that in reporting the trafficking issues, journalists must be able to observe objectively, not within ideologies or frames provided by politicians.

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  • May 2014

Added to UNT Digital Library

  • March 8, 2015, 5:44 p.m.

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  • Nov. 16, 2016, 5:33 p.m.

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Chong, Miyoung. A Cross-cultural Textual Analysis of Western and South Korean Newspaper Coverage of North Korean Women Defectors and Victims of Human Trafficking, thesis, May 2014; Denton, Texas. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc500051/: accessed March 31, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, UNT Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; .