The government will expand support for female North Korean defectors, Gender Equality Minister Jin Sun-mee said Monday.
The plans were revealed during a visit to a resettlement center for North Korean defectors, where the minister participated in discussion with female escapees. The discussion was held as part of the government’s effort to provide more help for the defectors’ settlement in South Korea.
Gender Equality Minister Jin Sun-mee (Yonhap)
“North Korean defectors’ successful settlement in South Korea will be a meaningful step toward peace and unification (of the South and North),” Jin said.
“The Gender Ministry will work with related government bodies to provide more support for female North Korean defectors and help them overcome discrimination and prejudice against the escapees.”
According to statistics from the government, 22,776 of the total 31,827 North Korean defectors are women as of June 2018, which translates to over 70 percent.
The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family has been offering various support programs for female defectors under the Framework Act on Gender Equality, which stipulates the government should take measures necessary to promote the welfare of women from vulnerable social groups including the escapees.
The ministry drew up a budget of 336 million won ($301,000) for operating counseling services for female defectors in 2019. In 2018, 4,906 female defectors received the counseling services, and 1,805 participated in a psychotherapy program operated at 10 centers.
The ministry also carries out a program to foster female North Korean defectors to become counselors, who can help other escapees suffering from domestic violence or sexual abuses.
For female defectors seeking jobs in South Korea, the ministry has provided career training programs via 158 job centers across the country and helped them find employment. The center had matched 123 female North Korean defectors to workplaces as of November 2018, according to the ministry.
By Park Ju-young (firstname.lastname@example.org)