From Human Trafficking To “Smuggled” Refugees: A Case from North Korea

Room 223
Melbourne Law School
185 Pelham Street


More Information

Presented by Dr Jiyoung Song, The Asia Institute, University of Melbourne

Jiyoung (Jay) Song has been following stories of North Korean refugees over the past decade and interviewed more than 500 North Koreans in China, Thailand, South Korea, Geneva, the United Kingdom and Australia since 1999. This seminar invites her to talk about the evolution of North Korean migration from trafficking in persons to migrant smuggling in China and Southeast Asia, from asylum seeking to citizenship in South Korea, and finally to secondary migration in the UK and Australia.

Unlike the public images of North Korean refugees as helpless victims from a repressive regime, the speaker argues that North Korean refugees and migrants who survive have internalised a significant level of agency in harsh conditions, adopting and shifting different legal and political identities.

About the Refugees and Forced Migration Seminar Series

Across semester two, the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and Researchers for Asylum Seekers (RAS) are partnering to present a fortnightly seminar series on a range of topics related to forced migration, refugees and people seeking asylum.

Events are held between 1pm and 2pm on Tuesdays at Melbourne Law School, 185 Pelham Street, Carlton.

All events are free and open to all. Bookings are not required. For further information email

Semester 2 Program

Download a PDF flyer of the program

1 August

Room 224

Behind “Behind the Wire”: Sharing New Perspectives
on Mandatory Detention

Michael Green and André Dao

15 August

Room 224

Nowhere People Have a Right to Somewhere:
Statelessness and the Law

Michelle Foster

29 August

Room 920

“Boat People” and Borders: Changing Political Debate
on Asylum Seekers

John Van Kooy

12 September

Room 920

Songs of Celebration and Suffering: Music and Refugees
in Australia

Samantha Dieckmann

3 October

Room 223

From Human Trafficking To “Smuggled” Refugees:
A Case from North Korea

Jiyoung Song

17 October

Room 920

Rising Seas: Climate change, Displacement and

Celia McMichael

31 October

Room 920

Closing the Chapter on Child Detention: Developments
in Normative and Legal Frameworks

Robyn Sampson