$1.2-$2.3 billion annually. That’s how much Kim Jong Un brings in each year from North Korean slave laborers sent to other countries.  It’s a lifeline that helps sustain his rule and his nuclear weapons program.  That’s why later this week the House will vote on Chairman Royce’s legislation, H.R. 1644, to try to stop this abominable business and get a win for both human rights and national security.

Here’s the story:

  • “Congress took the first steps Tuesday to impose the toughest sanctions yet on North Korea and companies from any country, including China, that facilitate its nuclear weapons and missile program.” (USA TODAY, 5/2/17)
  • “In particular, [the bill] will focus on… what you might call ‘slave labor.’ These are cases where the North Koreans send out work crews to do work, and instead of being paid, the money comes back to the North Korean regime, and is spent on their nuclear program,’ Royce told reporters.” (Reuters, 4/27/17)
  • “50,000 North Korean laborers are currently stationed in countries across Asia, the Middle East, Europe and Africa… where they will sometimes work 20-hour days.” (Time, 10/28/15)
  • “[They toil] in Chinese factories or Russian logging camps, digging military tunnels in Myanmar, building monuments for African dictators, sweating at construction sites in the Middle East or aboard fishing boats off Fiji, according to former workers and human rights researchers.” (New York Times, 2/19/15)
  • “North Korean workers, who are sent abroad to earn foreign currency… play an important part in the regime’s attempts to avoid international sanctions.” (Guardian, 12/31/14)
  • “Cash for Kim.”  “’We don’t receive the money personally in our hands,’ said one [worker]. ‘We let the company look after it.’” (Vice, 5/23/16)
  • “Much of the money generated by the workers is believed to be diverted to the regime’s military and nuclear programs, as well as to its elite inner circle.” (CNN, 5/27/15)
  • “A report by the International Network for the Human Rights of North Korean Overseas Labor in 2012 said that North Korea earns between $1.2 billion and $2.3 billion annually from [slave labor].” (Associated Press, 10/29/15)
  • “They are literally sending their human rights abuses to the EU.” “North Korean workers do not have proper contracts or payslips, must surrender their passports… [and] are also kept under surveillance and have to participate in ideological study sessions.” (Reuters, 7/5/16)
  • “A North Korean welder… died from 95 percent burns in an accident at a Polish shipyard in 2014. Investigations showed the clothing supplied to him by his Polish employers was flammable.” (Reuters, 7/5/16)

Read more about Chairman Royce’s Korean Interdiction and Modernization of Sanctions Act (H.R. 1644), which also targets financial institutions that still do business with North Korea and restricts North Korean access to international ports, HERE.