2024 North Korean Defector Women Delegation Visit

March 16-March 23, 2024
New York City/Washington DC

“The Jangmadang was like a battlefield without gunfire!”
“The Jangmadang was created with the blood and sweat of
North Korean women.”

North Korean Female Entrepreneurs

Dear Friends:

Please enjoy this report prepared for you by Johnny Park and members of our A Team regarding the March 2024 visit of North Korean women who were entrepreneurs in the Jangmadang. We believe we achieved our objective to show it was the women of North Korea who created the effective market system that even today 80% of the population relies on to survive AND South Koreans absolutely do not need to worry about the economic burden of regime collapse. Once the dictator’s boot is lifted off their necks, North Koreans will create the miracle of the Taedong just like South Koreans created the miracle of the Han! This was a unique delegation unlike prior delegations in that the focus was not human rights but markets. One comment I heard after the Capitol Hill forum was that the testimonies were among the most impactful they had ever heard because it was about the real-life situation North Koreans face every day. Please be inspired by this report and note the reactions of our three eyewitnesses. Everyone involved made this a great success!

Acta Non Verba,

Suzanne Scholte
Chair, North Korea Freedom Coalition

2024 North Korean Escapee Delegation: Our Brave Witnesses

Kim Ji-Young

Bae Yoo-Jin

Kim Hang-Woon

2024 North Korea Freedom Coalition Delegation Hosts: Our A Team

Suzanne Scholte, Chair of NKFC

Jason West, Vice Chair of NKFC

Esther Kim, Translator, D.C.

Johnny Park, Translator, D.C.

Ann Buwalda and Jubilee Campaign

Barbara Montgomery

Euni and Ken Evensen

Pastor Star Lee and Park Hye-Young

Pam Davidson

Professor Jacqueline Pak

Sydney Kochan

Special Thanks to Michelle Kim and her PSALT team including Gloria, Grace, Ezra, and Micah! And Julie Kim, Translator, NYC, PSALT     Deborah Jeong, Translator, NYC, PSALT

Thank you to Those Who Supported the North Korean Delegation Travel Costs

Euni and Ken Evensen 

Ambassador Inho Lee


Tom Barker

Dr. Pavel Klein and Isabella Foundation

Alana Johnson

Defense Forum Foundation

Taewoo Lee

Young Moo Shin & Human Rights Fnd

Richard Kim

Pam Davidson

Esther Kim

Here is our day-by-day report:

Saturday and Sunday

Our North Korean delegation Kim Ji-Young, Bae Yoo-Jin, and Kim Hang-Woon arrived from Seoul and got to tour around New York City. Thank you to Jason West and Johnny Park for welcoming them upon arrival. On Sunday, the witnesses wanted to try “authentic” American food, so they had lunch at a burger place in NYC.  

Thank you to Professor Jacqueline Pak, Esther Kim, and Johnny Park for translating and editing the witnesses’ testimonies. Also, thank you to Julie Kim, Deborah Choi, and Johnny Park for reviewing the English testimonies with the witnesses for the UNCSW event.

Monday, March 18

United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women Panel

Thank you to Jubilee Campaign, Isabella Foundation, and Defense Forum Foundation for organizing the panel session with the North Korean delegation. Thank you to Ambassador Kim Sang-Jin, Deputy Permanent Representative of the ROK to the U.N., for participating in the panel session as the opening speaker. Ambassador Kim pointed out how the Kim regime’s crackdown on the Jangmadang led to an increase in human rights violations of North Korean women. “With the Kim regime’s ongoing crackdown on private economic activities, women are now more prone to domestic violence and maltreatment within the household, as their participation in the economic sector declines…the Republic of Korea is determined to continue to address DPRK human rights issues at the [U.N. Security] Council,” said Ambassador Kim.

In opening remarks for the panel session, Suzanne emphasized the role North Korean women played in creating the market system in North Korea and how it is going to positively impact South Korea when the two Koreas come together. “Through the witnesses’ testimonies, we can see what unification will be like once the people of North Korea are freed of the brutal dictatorship of the Kim Jong-Un regime. Many fear the collapse of the regime because it could cause economic hardship on South Korea. But, when the North Korean people are freed from the dictatorship, they will bring great prosperity to North Korea, said Suzanne.

During the panel session, the North Korean delegation emphasized the importance of the Jangmadang (North Korean market). “The Jangmadang should not disappear into the hands of North Korean officials and elites. The Jangmadang might be just a market to them. But, to the ordinary North Koreans, the Jangmadang is what 80% of North Koreans today rely on to avoid starvation,” said Kim Hang-Woon. Further, they criticized the Kim regime for not caring for its own citizens. “I would like to emphasize that the more than four hundred general markets in North Korea are not the result of Kim Jong-Il and Kim Jong-Un’s ‘consideration.’ Rather, the general market is the ‘asset of the people’ that North Korean women created with their blood and sweat to protect their lives,” said Kim Ji-Young.

Special thanks to Jason West for overseeing the panel session, Sydney Kochan for creating the event flyer, Julie Kim and Deborah Choi for the translation.

Thank you to Michelle Kim for preparing lunch boxes for the delegation after the panel session. Also, thank you to Kara Eyrich, Policy Adviser on Human Rights and Social Affairs, from the U.S. UN Mission for joining the lunch with the delegation. During the lunch, Kara talked about what the U.S. has been trying to do to ameliorate the current human rights violations perpetrated by the North Korean government. In response, the delegation expressed their gratitude and shared their concerns with her. “The international community must rescue the North Korean refugees who are currently detained in China. Simultaneously, we need to enhance the outside world’s information-sharing capabilities with the people of North Korea,” said Kim Hang-Woon. Kim Hang-Woon also shared the positive impact of the Operation Truth, which sends leaflets, rice bottles, and water balloons to North Korea, conducted by North Korean defectors in partnership with freedom-loving Americans.

Link to the UN CSW panel session:


Meeting with Ambassador Hwang Joon-Kook

Thank you to Ambassador Hwang Joon-Kook, ROK Ambassador to the U.N., for meeting with the North Korean delegation, Suzanne, Jason, and Johnny. Suzanne emphasized the two goals of the North Korean delegation visit: (1) North Korean women created the market system; (2) South Korea does not need to worry about bearing economic burdens once the two Koreas come together because North Korean women are ready to advance North Korea with the market system they learned through the Jangmadang. Ambassador Hwang reaffirmed his commitment to promoting human rights in North Korea and raising his voice at the United Nations.  Thank you to Hye Song of the ROK Mission for working so hard to ensure the delegation met Ambassador Hwang.

Tuesday, March 19

Thank you to Euni and Ken Evensen for opening their house for the North Korean delegation. Also, a special thank you to Euni for providing rides for the North Korean delegation and getting them to all their meetings in Washington, D.C.

DFF Congressional Defense and Foreign Policy Forum on Capitol Hill entitled:

“WE CAN DO IT: How We Became North Korean Entrepreneurs & What That Means for Unification: $$$!”

Thank you to Pam Davidson for helping welcome our guests for the Congressional forum. Many non-governmental organization representatives, human rights activists, and press came to the Congressional forum. Thank you to NTD TV for livestreaming the program so people could watch it online!

At the DFF Congressional Forum, our North Korean delegation shared their powerful testimonies with the attendees, emphasizing the role of North Korean women in North Korea’s market system. “[During the Arduous March,] I entered an enormous battlefield [the Jangmadang] to support my family. The reality of the time was like a battlefield without gunfire,” said Bae Yoo-Jin.

Link to the DFF Congressional Forum to watch online: https://www.ntd.com/defense-forum-foundations-congressional-defense-and-foreign-policy-forum_980011.html

Media Coverage of the DFF Congressional Forum:





The Esther Prayer Movement Prayer Service

Thank you to Pastor Star Lee and the Esther Prayer Movement for inviting the North Korean delegation to join their prayer service at the Lincoln Memorial. During the prayer service, the attendees prayed for God’s provisions over South Korea, the U.S., and Israel. Also, Kim Ji-Young shared her testimony during the prayer service. After the prayer service, the Esther Prayer Movement team hosted lunch for the North Korean delegation.

Meeting with Representative Young Kim

We thank Representative Young Kim of California for meeting with the North Korean delegation, demonstrating the concern of the U.S. Congress for the people of North Korea. Representative Young Kim expressed her support for the people of North Korea, including her efforts to pass the NKHR Reauthorization Act. Further, she emphasized the importance of sharing outside information with the people of North Korea. “It is very important to share outside information through the voices of North Korean defectors. We need to continue to encourage North Koreans to come out to the outside world,” said Rep. Kim.  The North Korean delegation thanked Representative Young Kim’s efforts and asked her to rescue the North Korean refugees who are currently detained in China. The North Korean delegation was heavily touched by Representative Young Kim’s genuine love for the people of North Korea.

Welcome Dinner hosted by the ROK Embassy for the North Korean Delegation and NKFC Delegation Hosts

Thank you to the Unification Attache Dae-Hyeon BAEK of the Embassy of the Republic of Korea for hosting the North Korean delegation and North Korea Freedom Coalition host members for a special welcome dinner. After a session of brief introduction, the North Korean delegation and dinner attendees enjoyed a delicious dinner.  The North Korean delegation was very touched by the fact that many freedom-loving Americans support the people of North Korea.

Wednesday, March 20

Meeting with the Center for Security and International Studies

Thank you to the Center for Security and International Studies for hosting the North Korean delegation to listen to the delegation’s voices to promote the human rights for the people of North Korea and inform the role of North Korean women in the Jangmadang.  Thank you to Michelle Strucke and Ellen Kim for showing a genuine interest in the North Korean women’s participation in the market. At the meeting, our North Korean delegation explained how North Korean women provide for their families through the Jangmadang and shared the dire working conditions of the ordinary North Korean laborers. “In North Korea, because there is no concept of minimum wage, many North Koreans are forced to work without pay. They do not comprehend that what they are suffering is labor exploitation,” said Bae Yoo-Jin.

The North Korean delegation shared with the CSIS the importance of sharing outside information with the people of North Korea. “Although the Kim regime still tries to trick its people into believing that North Korea’s nuclear program is protecting the country from South Korea and the U.S., due to the influx of outside information, many North Koreans do not believe the lie anymore,” said Kim Ji-Young.

Thursday, March 21

Meeting with the Korea Economic Institute

Thank you to the Korea Economic Institute for hosting the North Korean delegation to listen to our witnesses’ participation in the Jangmadang and their insights on the North Korean market system.  At the meeting, our North Korean delegation talked about the spread of capitalism through the Jangmadang in North Korea. “Many North Koreans have started to accept and practice the capitalist market system, realizing that they need to prioritize food over ideology. Thus, it is important to continue to share with the people of North Korea that the current dictatorial regime in Pyongyang is suppressing them,” said Bae Yoo-Jin. Also, our witnesses urged the international community not to lift sanctions on North Korea. “It is a tragic mistake to think that if the international community sends its humanitarian aid to Kim Jong-Un, somehow the aid will go to the suffering North Koreans,” said Kim Ji-Young. Lastly, our witnesses shared with the KEI that many North Koreans have started to understand that the North Korean planned economy does not work for the good of the people. With the Jangmadang, many North Koreans understand that they can at least provide for their families. “North Koreans do not rely on the government anymore,” said Kim Ji-Young.

Lunch with Ambassador Cho Hyun-Dong

Thank you to South Korea’s Ambassador to the United States Cho Hyun-Dong for meeting with our delegation and treating us to a wonderful lunch at his residence.

Link to the meeting shared by the South Korean Embassy:


Meeting with Ambassador Julie Turner

Thank you to Ambassador Julie Turner, U.S. Special Envoy on North Korean Human Rights Issues, for hosting the North Korean delegation, providing a platform for them to share their stories and demonstrate the United States’ concern for the people of North Korea. Many bureaus and offices of the U.S. State Department joined the meeting.

At the meeting, our witnesses explained how the North Korean market is growing and many North Koreans no longer rely on the North Korean government. Also, our witnesses stressed the fact that North Koreans, under the dictatorship of Kim Jong-Un, are living like slaves. Thus, they argued, “the U.S. government must send more outside information to North Korea.”

Further, our witnesses expressed their grave concern over the North Korean government’s severe crackdown on the consumption of South Korean content. “In 1998, many North Koreans watched South Korean TV shows and shared them with others. But, in 1999, Kim Jong-Il, realizing the threat posed by the spread of South Korean content, made a temporary order to root out the spread of South Korean content. The temporary order is still in place under Kim Jong-Un, and the North Korean government has been expelling and even executing those who distribute South Korean content,” said Bae Yoo-Jin.

In response, Ambassador Turner reaffirmed the U.S. government’s commitment to improving the human rights of North Koreans, including their right to access outside information without hindrance. Also, Ambassador Turner shared that many countries have started to pay more attention to the issues of North Korean human rights.


Bae Yoo-Jin: “From the moment I arrived at the U.S. airport to the last day I left, every moment was so happy, memorable, and touching…I was very touched by the fact that Americans, who are not Koreans, care about the Korean Peninsula, especially North Korea, and work hard to save the people of North Korea. It touched my heart greatly.”

Kim Hang-Woon: Thanks to the people who came to meet us at the airport in New York, I was able to have a pleasant evening without any nervousness…Thank you for allowing an ordinary North Korean woman, who simply made necessary efforts to save her family from starving to death in North Korea, to stand before the UNCSW on behalf of North Korean women…What impressed me the most during this visit was that I felt a lot of self-reproach, gratitude, and appreciation when I saw…human rights activists trying to bring down the regime and liberate North Koreans from oppression as soon as possible, I thought to myself that I should work with them and take the lead in bringing about the unification.

Kim Ji-Young: Every moment of the week was an opportunity for me to strengthen my heart to live more responsibly in the future. I also felt God’s love thanks to the pastors and Christians praying for North Koreans in the cold wind….I would like to thank everyone for coordinating all the meaningful events and carrying them out successfully. I will try to work harder for the freedom of North Korea in the future, following in your footsteps. Thank you. Love you. Father, free North Korea!