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“All human beings are born free and equal

in dignity and rights.”

- Universal Declaration of Human Rights

North Korea's Forced Labor Enterprise: A State-Sponsored Marketplace in Human Trafficking

Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 2:30pm
2123 Rayburn House Office Building


Please join the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission for a hearing on the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK)’s provision of forced labor to foreign governments through bilateral contracts.

Credible reports indicate that the DPRK’s “contract workers” are sent to countries in East Asia, Central Asia, Africa and Central Europe and are forced to work while their movements are surveilled by DPRK “minders.” 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. Workers receive only a fraction of the money paid to the North Korean government for their work.

In recent years, international condemnation of North Korea’s government has been growing, including accusations within the United Nations of potential crimes against humanity by the regime in Pyongyang. However, the use of forced labor by the DPRK in fulfilling its international contracts may offer a new entry point for combatting the government’s ever-growing list of human rights violations.

This hearing will bring together experts to discuss the causes and consequences of North Korea’s use of forced labor abroad and provide recommendations on what the United States can do to protect these victims of state-sponsored human trafficking.

For any questions, please contact Carson Middleton (for Mr. Pitts) at 202-225-2411 or or Soo Choi (for Mr. McGovern) at 202-225-3599 or

Hosted by:

Joseph R. Pitts, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Co-Chairman, TLHRC


Panel I

  • Mr. Robert King, Special Envoy for North Korea Human Rights Issues, U.S. Department of State

Panel II

  • Mr. Greg Scarlatoiu, Executive Director, Committee for Human Rights in North Korea
    Written testimony
  • Mr. Lim Il, Co-Director, International Network for the Human Rights of North Korean Overseas Labor
    Written testimony
  • Mr. John Sifton, Asia Advocacy Director, Human Rights Watch
    Written testimony



114th Congress