Korea Future Initiative

The Korea Future Initiative is a London-based charity that rescues North Koreans in danger and publishes reports on human rights abuses to support redress for exiles through transitional and conventional justice mechanisms, memory projects, and outreach programmes with exiled communities.

Our prime focus is on North Korean women, children, and minorities who suffer disproportionately from human rights abuses. Our rescue efforts directly aid these vulnerable individuals. Our reports fills gaps in global knowledge of the abuses experienced by these groups and provide a more complete picture of the human rights landscape of North Korea. Our redress programmes aid the exiled communities in three steps.

Why Our Work is Necessary

The North Korean state has inflicted appalling human rights violations upon its people for seven decades. Determining an effective response has proved problematic for the international community. Resolutions, condemnations, engagement, and dialogue have all been insufficient to halt, or even reduce, crimes against humanity in North Korea, which inferentially continue.

Our work addresses the reality of North Korea. We rescue North Koreans who are at great risk and deliver them to freedom and safety. Our rescues of North Koreans are aligned with our reporting — currently focused on gender-based violence. We report on human rights violations in almost real-time and provide valuable and actionable intelligence to stakeholders. This work feeds into our redress programmes that offer transitional and conventional justice to survivors, memory projects for families of victims, and outreach to exiled North Korean communities in Europe and South Korea.

Our Team


Hee-soon is a key researcher on sexual and gender-based violence at Korea Future Initiative. She works with our network of sources on the ground in China, southeast Asia, and South Korea to better understand the causes and consequences of the crimes that North Korean women and girls endure.

Michael Glendinning

Michael Glendinning is the founder and CEO of the Korea Future Initiative. Before starting the organisation, he was the co-founder and Director of the European Alliance for Human Rights in North Korea. He is also the founder and Director of Connect: North Korea, a London-based charity. Michael has been involved in North Korean human rights since 2009. He holds a BA and MA in English.

James Burt

James Burt is Director of Research at the Korea Future Initiative. He has worked on North Korea for over a decade and graduated from the London School of Economics and Political Science with a Masters in International Relations. He reports on gender-based and sexual violence against women and girls, liaises with rescue teams, and writes on a wide range of topics, including North Korean forced labour and refugees in Europe. Separately, he is the Special Advisor to the United Kingdom's All-Party Parliamentary Group on North Korea, a position he has held since 2013.


We are supported by a number of individuals working on-the-ground in China and Southeast Asia to protect, support, and bring vulnerable North Korean refugees to freedom.


Ethnic Korean and Chinese researchers working on-the-ground in China, Southeast Asia, and South Korea undertake documentation of human rights violations experienced by North Korean escapees and draft research papers.