Seoul: A South Korean man has been arrested for running Internet sex sites involving female North Korean refugees hiding in China, a report said on Sunday.
The 53-year-old identified only as Na is accused of recruiting about 160 North Korean women and ethnic Koreans in China to engage in sex talk with South Korean clients or to strip on web-cams, Yonhap news agency said.
The report gave no further details. It is illegal in South Korea to operate Internet sex sites.
Activists say that women account for about 80 percent of tens of thousands of North Koreans hiding in China.
South Korea's state human rights watchdog said in February that many female refugees suffer sexual violence or human trafficking in China and other countries after fleeing their repressive homeland.
Virtually all North Koreans escaping their country cross into China, where they face forced repatriation if caught. Many travel on to Southeast Asian nations in the hope of eventual resettlement in South Korea.
At a Washington news conference in April last year, North Korean women who escaped the sex trade in China said brokers treated them like livestock by selling them to one or more "husbands".
Almost 18,000 North Koreans have arrived in South Korea since the 1950-1953 war, the vast majority in recent years, campaigners say.
First Published: Sunday, May 30, 2010, 13:54