North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un is recruiting young women to entertain him as part of his new "pleasure troupe." Kim, 32, who is married and has a young daughter, sent government officials across the country to select the prettiest women who would work as maids, singer or dancers, among other roles.
Kim's father also had a "pleasure troupe," but it was disbanded after his death in 2011. With the three-year mourning period coming to an end, Kim wants to reportedly restart the concubine tradition created by his grandfather, "Eternal President" Kim Il Sung.
The women are generally passed on to high-ranking military and government officials when they reach their mid-20s and are deemed too old to entertain the leader. "This has been going on under three generations of the Kim family ruling North Korea and it has become a tradition that is also a demonstration of the leader's power over the people and his sexual power," Toshimitsu Shigemura, a professor at Tokyo's Waseda University, told The Daily Telegraph.
South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo claimed the women were given approximately $4,000, a significant amount in North Korea, and various household appliances for their services. Recruits are reportedly staying at the Koryo Hotel in Pyongyang undergoing security training.
Kim's hedonistic lifestyle contrasts starkly with everyday life in North Korea, where a devastating famine in the 1990s left hundreds of thousands of North Koreans dead from hunger. Pyongyang largely relies on foreign aid organizations to feed its citizens, according to the Guardian.
North Korea has also been criticized by the United Nations for its record on human rights. Its camps hold roughly 120,000 political prisoners.
Kim married Ri Sol Ju when she was 23, in 2009. She studied singing in China and competed as a cheerleader. Kim became North Korea's leader after his father had ruled the country for 17 years.