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N. Korean workers process seafood in China for U.S. stores, restaurants

N. Korean workers process seafood in China for U.S. stores, restaurants”

AP also tracked products made by North Korean workers to 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. Workers receive only a fraction of the money paid to the North Korean government for their work and face punishment if they fail to meet production or work targets.

For example, according to a new report by the Associated Press, American consumers may be purchasing seafood at grocery stores and in restaurants that was prepared by North Korean workers based in China.

It's also claimed that North Korean workers aren't allowed to leave their compounds in the Chinese factories without permission or their North Korean minders.

John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, urged its 300 members, including the largest seafood importers in the USA, to "ensure that wages go to the workers and are not siphoned off to support a unsafe dictator".

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.

Wal-Mart barred suppliers from using fish from a facility in Hunchun, one of several in the eastern Chinese city that were reported to employ North Korean laborers in slave-like conditions.

"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 unsafe regime", Tillerson said in July after North Korea's successful test of an intercontinental ballistic missile.

In late September, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on eight North Korean banks and 26 executives, targeting North Koreans working as representatives of North Korean banks in China, Russia, Libya and the United Arab Emirates. And it's up to corporations to be responsible for their own supply chains.

Especially since, they say, the government of Kim Jong Un keeps most of their pay as it builds its nuclear weapons program.

Often the fish arrives in generic packaging.

Wal-Mart spokesman Marilee McInnis said company officials banned their suppliers from getting seafood processed at a Hunchun plant a year ago after an audit revealed potential issues with migrant workers.

"Combatting forced labor is a complex problem that no one company, industry, or government can tackle alone", she said, adding Wal-Mart was working with industry groups, governments, other retailers and NGOs to "create lasting, sustainable change". The products were sold under the brand names of Walmart and Sea Queen, a house brand of Aldi.



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