Russia: State-controlled traffic of North Korean workers amounts to slave trade, say human rights groups

Author: Andrew Higgins, The New York Times, Published on: 14 July 2017

"North Koreans in Russia work ‘basically in the situation of slaves’", 11 July 2017

...Squeezed by international sanctions and unable to produce many goods that anyone outside North Korea wants to buy...the government has sent tens of thousands of its impoverished citizens to cities and towns across the former Soviet Union to earn money for the state. Human rights groups say this state-controlled traffic amounts to a slave trade, but so desperate are conditions in North Korea that laborers often pay bribes to get sent to Russia. North Korean laborers helped build a new soccer stadium in St. Petersburg to be used in next year’s World Cup, a project on which at least one of them died. They are working on a luxury apartment complex in central Moscow, where two North Koreans were found dead last month in a squalid hostel near the construction site. They also cut down trees in remote logging encampments in the Russian Far East that resemble Stalin-era prison camps. But they have left their biggest and most visible mark in Vladivostok, providing labor to home repair companies that boast to customers how North Koreans are cheaper, more disciplined and more sober than native Russians.

 

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