The two journalists, along with a male cameraman and a guide, were headed to Yanji, across the border from North Korea's far northeastern corner, where they planned to interview women forced by human traffickers to strip for online customers and meet with children of defectors, according to the Rev. Chun Ki-won of the Seoul-based Durihana Mission, a Christian group that helps defectors.
Then they planned to travel to Dandong, said Chun who helped the journalists organize the trip.
The Americans would likely be sent to a prison in Sariwon, about 58 kilometers (36 miles) south of Pyongyang, said the defector, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitive nature of his job. The Sariwon prison usually houses purged party members, he said.
The facility was built in the early 1990s as a "showcase" prison for international human rights groups doing inspection tours. The prison's architecture is better than ordinary government buildings, and it has televisions, refrigerators and beds in each room, the former official said.