The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Rocky Recap: Human Rights Activist Mike Kim Visits Dartmouth

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Read below for a student's account of the Rockefeller Center's most recent public program. To learn more about our public programs click here or to register for an upcoming events click here.
On April 23, the Rockefeller Center hosted Mike Kim, a human rights activist and author of Escaping North Korea: Defiance and Hope in the World’s Most Repressive Country. In a lecture entitled “North Korea – China: A Modern Day Underground Railroad,” Kim told the story of his work assisting North Korean refugees to navigate the underground railroad through China, gain political asylum, and escape sex trafficking. Kim first became inspired to help North Korean refugees on a two-week trip to China, where he met a young North Korean refugee who had fallen victim to sex trafficking. Vowing to return to the northeast region of China, Kim liquidated his successful business, bought a one-way ticket to China, and began to operate undercover leading North Korean refugees through China on an “underground railroad” to obtain asylum from South Korean embassies in Shanghai, China and Bangkok, Thailand. Kim himself made the 6,000-mile journey to Thailand with several North Korean refugees, facing dangerous, illegal border crossings and a host of other obstacles. After returning to the United States, Kim founded a nonprofit organization called Crossing Borders that provides humanitarian assistance to North Korean refugees and is based out of Washington, D.C. Kim’s book on the plight of North Korean refugees, especially those young women who have fallen victim to sex trafficking, has garnered international attention. Kim now works as a consultant to the U.S. government on trafficking in persons, and continues his humanitarian work by spreading the message of his organization and book.
-Caitlin Ardrey '13

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