A human rights group has released a report on the worrying condition of North Korean laborers dispatched to Russia to undertake dangerous work in slave-like conditions.
The North Korean Human Rights Database Center in Seoul held a seminar to talk about its report, Human Rights Conditions of North Korean Laborers Dispatched to Russia as Woodcutters and Construction Workers on Dec. 12.
At the seminar, the group discussed the poor conditions of North Korean woodcutters and construction workers in Russia. For the report, the group interviewed 50 North Korean defectors who were former workers in Russia.
“Since the 1940s, North Korea has been dispatching woodcutters and construction workers to Russia. In 2000, the number of workers were 8,700 and it skyrocketed to 47,365 in 2015,” said Park Chan-hong, a researcher at the center.
“Most of the workers are suffering from illegal detention, torture, extrajudicial punishment, forced labor and so on. Most of all, around 90 percent of their wages are exploited by the North Korea authorities,” Park said.
“To improve their human rights the South Korean government should ask the North Korean or Russian governments to put the matter right,” he added.