Poland banned North Korea workers after provocations, Warsaw says

North Korea had deployed forced laborers to the country.
By Elizabeth Shim  |  June 7, 2016 at 1:31 PM
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SEOUL, June 7 (UPI) -- Poland is no longer permitting North Korean workers to enter the country.

The Polish foreign ministry made the announcement Sunday, and stated North Korean workers have been turned away since a nuclear test in January and a long-range rocket launch in February, Voice of America reported.

North Korea's deployment of forced laborers, about 50,000 in total according to one South Korean estimate, earns the Kim Jong Un regime up to $300 million a year.

In 2015, 126 companies in 14 sectors outside North Korea, including in Russia, Mongolia and Poland, were allegedly employing North Korean slaves as a form of cheap labor.

Poland has been cited as one of the few European Union countries that have had North Korean laborers working within its borders.

But according to the foreign ministry in Warsaw, not one work visa was issued to a North Korean national after the tests. In 2015, 156 work visas and 482 work permits were issued.

The Polish government also stated that it is looking into the case of a local shipbuilding company that was employing North Korean workers at its sites.

In May, Vice news reported that a North Korean welder had died in the CRIST shipyard in the Polish port city of Gdynia.

A team of investigative journalists who spoke to North Korean laborers also reported they are isolated, kept under constant surveillance and exploited by a system of "official indifference...that extends all the way to the European Commission."

The Polish government stated that it has not been involved in any way with the hiring of North Koreans on Polish sites.

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