North Korea’s war on sex: Kim Jong un’s high society shattered by prostitution ring bust
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North Korean officials have sent more than 50 female students of two of Pyongyang’s prominent arts colleges to a disciplinary labour camp for their alleged involvement in a prominent prostitution ring. The students were understood to have been driven into sex work by poverty and to pay for the expensive fees at their highly selective schools.
Authorities have begun to clamp down on sex and prostitution in recent months, after reports of an illicit prostitution ring catering to the capital’s elites.
Last month six people, including four party officials, were publicly executed for their involvement in the scandal.
All were shot dead in Pyongyang on July 20 after being accused of either pimping or buying sex at a public bathhouse popular among influential city residents.
The women involved were all female students at the prominent performing arts colleges in the city, sources told the US-backed Radio Free Asia (RFA) website.
One insider suggested the news of the prostitution ring had enraged Kim Jong-un himself who had personally ordered the executions.
The leader of the hermit state was angered that the female students, many of whom are on track to be further film stars, were selling themselves.
An investigation was launched to uncover which students were involved with prostitution.
Some 200 students at the prestigious schools have been connected to the sex ring.
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The vast majority were given punishments of reeducation, but about 50 students were sent to a labour camp.
A Pyongyang official told RFA’s Korean Service: “I know that about 50 female college students at the Pyongyang University of Music and Dance and Pyongyang University of Dramatic and Cinematic Arts were punished for prostitution from three to six months in a disciplinary labour centre.”
The source also discussed the wider probe into prostitution at the colleges and added: “A joint investigation was conducted by the Central Committee and law enforcement authorities into [the two schools] after the public executions.
“It was found through that investigation that more than 200 students were involved.”
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The insider explained that many of the students were only loosely connected to the sex ring, which is why their punishments were less severe.
The source said: “About 100 were sentenced only to reeducation sessions because they weren’t deeply involved.
“But about 50 who were suspected of being habitually involved in the sex trade itself, or leading their fellow students into prostitution, were reportedly expelled from the school and sent to a disciplinary labour centre to be punished.”
It is thought many of the students turned to sex work to fund their college fees.
The official said: “The central education authorities give economic tasks to colleges and universities, so they collect large amounts of money from the students every day.
“The female college students who have difficult family circumstances are thereby forced into prostitution.”
The clampdown on prostitution forms part of North Korea’s Supreme Leader’s war on sex, as he attempts to crack down on amorous teenagers.
He has declared their “impure acts” to be treasonous, with parents and teachers also facing punishment if they fail to control their behaviour.
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