vice meets

Escaping From a North Korean Concentration Camp

Ben Makuch met up with Kim Hye-sook in Seoul, where she currently resides, to talk about her pictures and experiences from her 28 years at Bukchang labor camp.
January 19, 2018, 11:00am

Kim Hye-sook was born in North Korea, and at the age of 13, along with her family, was sent to Bukchang concentration camp (also known as Camp 18) as a punishment for her grandfather's attempt to escape North Korea.

She spent nearly three decades as a prisoner at the camp and eventually managed to run away and defect to South Korea. Since her escape, she drew maps and pictures of her experience at Bukchang that were used by UN investigators to identify and prove the existence the camp from satellite images.