SEOUL, Aug. 4 (UPI) — North Korean officials have been paying procuration fees to brokers as Pyongyang faces mounting obstacles to exporting low-cost labor.
A source based in China told Radio Free Asia North Korean officials with ties to Chinese acquaintances try to “persuade them to arrange for the export of [North Korean] labor.”
“They tell [brokers] if they can find a company willing to hire North Korean workers, they’ll provide incentives,” the source said.
The source said he was directly contacted by a North Korean official and was told he would be given a monthly compensation of 100 Chinese yuan, or about $15, per North Korean laborer employed at a Chinese factory.
There are several people making similar offers, the source added.
“It appears the North Korean government is urgently looking for sources of foreign currency,” the source said.
Another source told RFA the agreements to find a location for North Korean manpower sometimes “fall apart” after 2-3 months, when the Chinese contact is unable to deliver on the agreed promises.
It is estimated North Korea deploys at least 50,000 people overseas in its force of involuntary laborers who earn hundreds of millions of dollars for the Kim Jong Un regime.
Some countries, however, are enforcing new measures to ban or limit the number of North Korean laborers.
Poland, one of few European Union states that have had North Korean forced laborers working within its borders announced in June it is no longer permitting North Korean workers to enter the country.
The Gulf state of Qatar also has stepped up measures to restrict the flow of North Koreans into the country since the adoption of a North Korea sanctions resolution in March.