North Korean workers process salmon, snow crab shipped to US

North Korean workers process salmon, snow crab shipped to US

North Korean workers process salmon, snow crab shipped to US

In response to the investigation, Senate leaders said on Wednesday that the USA needs to keep products made by North Koreans out of the United States and get China to refuse to hire North Korean workers. North Korea takes up to 70 percent of the wages its workers make overseas, and uses the money to prop up the regime and its $1 billion nuclear weapons program.

AP said Hunchun was part of a broader effort by Pyongyang to disperse tens of thousands of workers around the world in various industries, bringing in an estimated $200 to $500 million annually and bolstering North Korea's nuclear program. That could account for a sizable portion of North Korea's nuclear weapons and missile programs, which South Korea says have cost more than $1 billion.

Shipping records show more than 100 cargo containers of seafood, more than 2,000 tons, were sent to the U.S. and Canada this year from the Chinese factories that employ North Koreans.

Besides seafood, AP found North Korean laborers making wood flooring and sewing garments in Chinese factories.

About a dozen US companies sell fish using North Korean slave labor, according to the investigation.

At Chinese factories, North Korean workers aren't allowed to leave their compounds without permission, and must step from housing to factories in pairs or groups, with North Korean minders.

Companies are asked to voluntarily send back North Korean workers hired on or after that date, and their failure to do so will be subject to additional penalty charges, the sources said.

For now, involved companies are starting their own investigations, while some already closed deals with suppliers, AP said.

John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, the largest seafood trade association in the USA, told AP his group was urging all of its companies to immediately re-examine their supply chains "to ensure that wages go to the workers, and are not siphoned off to support a unsafe dictator".

Chinese authorities have set up strict checkpoints near the border regions with North Korea in Liaoning Province, Dandong City, including the mobilization of military dogs. Recent UN sanctions have banned countries from issuing new work permits to North Korea, though they still allow workers already employed to continue working under existing permits.

At some factories, laborers worked hunched over tables as North Korean political slogans blasted from loudspeakers.

Some 3,000 North Koreans are believed to work in the area. And it's up to corporations to be responsible for their own supply chains.

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

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