Human rights groups claim that Russia is using tens of thousands of North Korean laborers in its construction industry, in what has been termed as “slave labor.” North Korea is facing its worst drought in over a century and massive food shortages. United Nations has also warned of mass starvation in the country.

Russia Using Tens Of Thousands Of North Korean 'Slave" Laborers

North Korea earns $2 billion via ‘state-sponsored slavery’

Supplying overseas workers is one of the major sources of cash for Pyongyang. It sends tens of thousands of “state-sponsored slaves” abroad only to seize their wages. Amid cash-crunch, dictator Kim Jong-Un has dramatically increased the number of workers sent abroad. For well over a decade, North Korea earned money through illicit means such as drug smuggling, arms sales, and counterfeiting U.S. dollars.

Due to sanctions from the United Nations and major economic powers, the North Korean economy is in dire shape. According to BBC News, tens of thousands of North Korean people are working as slaves in the remote far east of Russia. ABC News reports that Kim Jong-Un has “doubled” the number of workers sent abroad.

North Korean regime generates approximately $2 billion by exporting “state-sponsored slaves.” That money is used to fund multiple projects in the country, including nuclear projects. ABC News added that about 90,000 North Korean people are working in nearly 40 countries. Of them, at least 25,000 are in Russia, mainly involved in the construction industry.

Russia, North Korea enjoy warm relations

Russia is one of the very few countries Pyongyang has cordial relations with. In March, Kim Jon-Un announced that his regime would celebrate 2015 as the “year of friendship” with Russia. The two countries have stepped up economic ties and cultural exchanges.

Last year, the U.S. State Department condemned the Kim Jong-Un regime for its attitude towards laborers. The U.S. asked North Korea to “end the use of forced labor in prison camps and among North Korean workers abroad.” NK Watch has also urged the United Nations to investigate the “state-sponsored slavery.”