Seoul, Washington to Push on N.Korean Slave Labor at UN

  • By Cho Yi-jun

    October 17, 2016 11:06

    The U.S. and South Korea are pushing to include the issue of North Korean slave laborers abroad in a human rights resolution for the UN General Assembly in December.

    The UN has adopted a resolution on North Korean human rights abuses every year since 2005, but none of them mentioned the North Koreans who labor in inhuman conditions overseas but are robbed of their earnings by the regime.

    "We need to publicize the human rights abuses against North Korean laborers overseas so that countries around the world may think twice before hiring them," a diplomatic source here said Sunday. "We're looking into ways with the U.S. to reflect this issue in the resolution."

    Although the UN resolution is not binding, it could prompt countries to stop hiring North Korean workers since the money they earn ends up financing North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs.

    A government official said, "Russia and Middle Eastern countries that hire a lot of North Korean workers are against attempts to stop North Korea's labor exports. If we turn this into an international issue through the resolution, we could at least prevent more North Korean laborers from being sent overseas.

    North Koreans sent abroad labor for long hours and are employed without proper contracts, often unaware of how much they are nominally earning as most of their wages are paid straight to their North Korean slave masters.

    Between 50,000 and 120,000 North Koreans toil abroad, earning the regime US$500 million to $1 billion a year.

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