Incredible claims have emerged that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un has sold at least 100,000 poor North Koreans into slavery abroad to fund his lavish lifestyle. According to the Mirror, human rights activists monitoring abuses in North Korea have claimed that 100,000 people are reported to have been sent abroad to work in terrible conditions.
According to the Express, Kim Jong-un has sent tens of thousands of poor citizens abroad to work as "state-sponsored slaves." Their wages are confiscated and used to pay for luxury goods for Kim Jong-un and his high-profile supporters in the Pyongyang administration.
It is believed that these practices have has been ongoing since the 1980s, but have got progressively worse under Kim Jong-un. North Korea's isolation from the rest of the world means that Kim Jong-un's administration is desperately short of foreign currency, and state-sponsored slavery is one way that allows them to earn the foreign currency necessary to buy the luxury goods denied to ordinary citizens in Kim Jong-un's totalitarian regime.
The Telegraph reports that the wages of such workers, paid in foreign currency, provide a stream of income that is seen as vital to keeping Kim Jong-un's Workers' Party in power.
Accruing foreign currency became of "paramount importance" in 2012 after Kim Jong-un took control of a country with "no economic stability," the North Korea Strategy Center said in a report. Kim Jong-un's growing thirst for foreign currency means thousands more North Koreans are being shipped overseas, where rights activists and former workers claim their experiences are tantamount to slavery.
Former workers and human rights groups say that Kim Jong-un sends North Koreans to work long hours for little or no pay, toiling in Chinese factories and Russian logging camps, digging military tunnels in Burma, building monuments for African dictators, sweating at construction sites in the Middle East, and fishing aboard boats off Fiji.
The largest number of Kim Jong-un's "slaves" are sent to Russia, where the Daily Mail says they are paid as little as 300 roubles, or less than $5, per day. Most of this money is confiscated from them and fed back to Kim Jong-un, according to a report by the North Korean Strategy Center.
According to the New York Times, the workers are ferried to and from work by bus, are kept under armed guard, and at night are locked away in safe houses so they cannot escape.
"These workers face threats of government reprisals against them or their relatives in North Korea if they attempt to escape or complain to outside parties, workers' salaries are deposited into accounts controlled by the North Korean government, which keeps most of the money, claiming various 'voluntary' contributions to government endeavors."
A spokesman for Kim Jong-un's government deputy home minister Datuk Jaafar said that the foreign workers were "brave, dedicated and tough" and willing to do jobs local laborers considered too dangerous.
[Image via Daily Mail]