News Worms
News Worms

NKorean workers prep seafood going to USA stores, restaurants

NKorean workers prep seafood going to USA stores, restaurants

The news comes from an AP investigation, which also tracked products that go to Canada, Germany, and countries within the European Union. These workers face threats of government reprisals against them or their relatives in the [North Korea] if they attempt to escape or complain to outside parties.

The measures taken by the city government will "have a big impact because we had been able to hire North Korean workers on the cheap", said a senior official of a factory in Dandong that now employs North Korean workers. Aldi in Australia said it does not source any products from the factories in question. The North Korean government sends workers to countries including China, Poland, Russia, Uruguay, and the Gulf states to work in a variety of industries, then strips them of a portion of their salaries - sometimes up to 70 percent.

John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, urged its 300 members, including the largest seafood importers in the USA, to "ensure that wages go to the workers and are not siphoned off to support a unsafe dictator". Plants in Hunchun were found using North Korean workers.

It is said that the Chinese authorities have recently intensified monitoring the visa status of North Koreans working in seafood processing, as well as clothing and electronic parts factories, in Dandong, Yanji and other cities.

It is a federal crime for products made in North Korea to be sold in the United States under sanctions signed by President Donald Trump in August, and companies contacted by the AP have said that using forced labour, or supporting North Korea, is unacceptable in their supply chains.

"While we understand that hiring North Korean workers may be legal in China", said Connelly, "we are deeply concerned that any seafood companies could be inadvertently propping up the despotic regime".

"It is unbelievable that they would be going home in bright outfits with these smiles on their faces", RFA's source said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

One importer, The Fishin' Munhall, Pa., said it cut ties with Hunchun processors and got its last shipment this summer.

Seafood can remain in the supply chain for more than a year.

"Combatting forced labor is a complex problem that no one company, industry, or government can tackle alone", she said, adding Wal-Mart was working with industry groups, governments, other retailers and NGOs to "create lasting, sustainable change".

Per the AP's report, some brands of salmon found in Walmart and ALDI stores was linked to North Korean workers based in China.

The exact number of North Korean laborers overseas is unknown, but estimates are in the tens of thousands.


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