News and Views
North Korea accused of sending tens of thousands of ‘slaves’ abroad to earn money for Kim’s coffers
- Workers found toiling on building sites, in mines, and in restaurants
- Contracted out by Office 39, a fundraising arm of North Korean regime
- Campaigners say practice is rising due to Kim’s desire for luxury goods
Tens of thousands of North Koreans have been forced to work overseas in slave conditions in order to feed money back to Pyongyang to buy luxuries for Kim Jong-Un, a new report reveals.
The impoverished labourers have been found working on sweltering construction sites in the Middle East, in deadly mines where locals refuse to go, or in a chain of Pyongyang restaurants.
Human rights campaigners say Kim’s greed for the finer things in life, and his mbitions building projects for Pyongyang, mean the practice is on the rise as the need for steady cash rises.
The workers are often paid as little as 300 roubles, or £3.18, per day with most of this confiscated from them, according to a report by the North Korean Strategy Center.
They are ferried to and from work by bus, are kept under armed guard, and at night are locked away in safe houses so they cannot escape, the report says.
Ahn Myeong-chul, head of Seoul-based human rights group NK Watch, told the New York Times: ‘[Pyongyang] is exploiting their labour and salaries to fatten the private coffers of Kim Jong-Un.’
‘We suspect that Kim is using some of the money to buy luxury good for his elite followers and finance the recent building boom in Pyongyang that he has launched to show off his leadership.’
In 2014 a group of 50 North Koreans were found helping to build Lusail City, the lavish development in the Doha desert, Qatar, which will eventually host the 2022 World Cup final.
According to the Guardian, the men work tirelessly day and night, keep less than 10 per cent of the meager wage they earn, and have been provided with a room to rest in on site so they don’t have to leave when taking breaks.