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North Korean Slave Labor Used to Process Fish Sold in US Stores

North Korean Slave Labor Used to Process Fish Sold in US Stores”

AP tracked products made by North Korean workers to America, Canada, Germany and elsewhere in 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.

USA senators and experts who study North Korea say corporations and the Trump administration should crack down on foreign factories using North Korean laborers to process American seafood.

Aldi said its United Kingdom stores are not linked to the factories. These same laborers also work in factories that make wood flooring and clothes in Hunchun, a Chinese city near the North Korean and Russian borders. 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 to "ensure that wages go to the workers, and are not siphoned off to support a risky dictator". Plants in Hunchun were found using North Korean workers.

Every Western company involved that responded to AP's requests for comment said forced labor and potentially supporting North Korea's weapons program was unacceptable in their supply chains.

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"Any country that hosts North Korean guest workers, provides any economic or military benefits, or fails to fully implement United Nations security council resolutions is aiding and abetting a risky regime", Tillerson said in July after North Korea's successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The AP says about 3,000 are now employed at seafood-packing facilities in Hunchun, a northern China city just a few miles from the North Korean and Russian borders.

What's less clear is whether and under what conditions China would commit troops as an occupying force should North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's regime fall apart, Mr. Cheng said.

One importer, The Fishin' Company in Munhall, Pennsylvania, said it has now cut ties with Hunchun processors and got its last shipment this summer. But the AP notes that the seafood could remain in the supply chain for "more than a year". Among the affected products is seafood distributed by the Fishin' Company (a Walmart supplier), Sea-Trek Enterprises (a Rhode Island company that sells to supermarkets and food-service companies in the USA and dozens of other countries), and Sea Queen (a brand exclusive to Aldi, which is now up to 1,600 locations in 35 states).

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



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