North Korean workers are still working illegally in Russia’s Far East, the Washington Post newspaper reported. Earlier, the US State Department urged the Russian government to more actively investigate the conditions of forced labor by North Korean workers in the country. Reporter Kim Young-gyo reports.
The Washington Post newspaper reported on the 18th that a popular advertising site in Vladivostok, a city in the Russian Far East, has a separate job search page for North Korean workers.
The newspaper reported this in an article titled ‘Russia’s Far East still provides great income to North Korean workers and the Kim Jong-un regime’.
They say they are advertising that North Korean workers can work in housing construction.
The newspaper then introduced the conversation with a North Korean worker who carried the advertisement, explaining that the worker had to give nearly half of the money he earned to the Kim Jong-un regime, but that he could earn much more than in North Korea.
The newspaper pointed out that more than a year and a half have passed since Security Council sanctions banned North Korean workers from staying, but North Korean workers still remain in Vladivostok.
Managers of several Russian construction companies said they continued to work with North Korean workers, but told the newspaper that the number of North Korean workers had declined since December 2, 2019, when UN Security Council sanctions took effect.
These managers said North Korean workers are in high demand because of their reputation for cheap but quality work.
The newspaper told North Koreans that working abroad is a precious and rare opportunity to raise the standard of living for their families in North Korea, but the working conditions abroad are usually not very good.
They are exposed to the risk of safety accidents as well as low wages due to long working hours.
In particular, during the novel coronavirus pandemic, North Korean workers will not be able to properly prevent or receive treatment, the newspaper reported.
The newspaper reported that another North Korean worker had entered Russia on a student visa and said he was working.
Citing statistics from the Russian Ministry of Interior, the newspaper reported that fewer than 4,000 North Koreans immigrated to Russia last year, and 2,600 of them were on student visas.
He added that the number was significantly reduced due to travel restrictions caused by the novel coronavirus infection.
The newspaper also reported that Russia said in a report submitted by the Russian mission to the UN in March last year that 511 North Korean workers remained in Russia due to the coronavirus-induced border lockdown.
Earlier, in the recently released Human Trafficking Facts Report, the US State Department defined North Korean workers as de facto victims of human trafficking, saying, “The North Korean regime may have forced its citizens into labor in a foreign country.”
He said that the Russian government is actively involved in forced labor of North Korean workers, and that Russia has carried out the process of repatriating North Korean workers in accordance with a Security Council resolution, but North Koreans have entered the country throughout the past year, and they appear to have been engaged in unofficial labor activities. pointed out.
Although there have been reports that the Russian government has stopped issuing new work permits to North Korean workers, many workers enter the country through tourist visas or student visas to work.
He also explained that North Korean workers who entered the country with these visas are more vulnerable to human trafficking as they work illegally.
Last year, the State Department said that Russian authorities issued 3,000 new tourist and student visas to North Korean nationals.
At the same time, despite credible reports of North Korea running labor camps and exploiting thousands of North Korean workers in Russia, the Russian government is making no effort to verify or identify the victims. He advised that we need to better understand the field, students and tourists.
Last November, the U.S. Treasury Department announced that it had imposed sanctions on two Russian-based companies involved in sending illegal workers abroad.
The Office of Overseas Assets Control (OFAC) under the Ministry of Finance has added ‘Joseon Iron and Steel Comprehensive Trading’, which is a North Korean-based institution in Russia, and ‘Mokran LLC,’ a Russian construction company, to the ‘SDN List’.
He then explained the background of the sanctions, saying that these institutions were “involved in, facilitating, or responsible for the export of forced labor” in order to create funds for the North Korean government or the Labor Party.
Meanwhile, it is known that the UN Security Council’s Expert Panel on North Korea Sanctions Committee is monitoring the activities of North Korea’s information and communication IT experts in Russia.
Aaron Arnold, a member of the UN Security Council’s Expert Panel on North Korea Sanctions Committee, who is in charge of finance and economics, said in a webinar in April that cryptocurrency hacking is a significant source of income compared to North Korea’s traditional activities such as coal exports. , China, etc.
This is Kim Young-kyo from VOA News.