N. Koreans prep seafood for US

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China is mum on any contingency plans, but questions are being raised with USA and North Korean tensions high and relations between Beijing and Pyongyang at a historic low. And they are paid a fraction of their salaries, while the rest - as much as 70 percent - is taken by North Korea's government ...

Workers at the plant are not allowed to leave the compounds without permission and have no access to telephones or email. North Korea makes up to $500 million a year by shipping citizens overseas to work as dirt-cheap laborers. South Korea estimates that the nuclear program is worth more than $1 billion.

Shipping records show more than 100 cargo containers of seafood, more than 2,000 tons, were sent to the United States and Canada this year from the Chinese factories that employ North Koreans.

On September 12, Beijing ordered no visa extensions and a stricter screening process for new visa issuance for North Korean workers.

"It is unbelievable that they would be going home in bright outfits with these smiles on their faces", RFA's source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. "The majority work in Russian Federation and China, but Middle Eastern, African, and other European and Asian countries also host North Korean laborers", the report explained.

It's illegal for an American company to import products made by North Korean workers anywhere in the world, but the connection with the Chinese companies was only recently uncovered by a team of investigative reporters from The Associated Press, who tracked the products from the factory to the freezer case.

"Most of the returning workers are young women, about 20 years old".

AP reporters followed the seafood those workers package, and discovered over 2,000 tons of snow crab, salmon, squid, and other fish had entered the US and Canadian food supply this year alone.

One importer, The Fishin' Co.in Munhall, Pa., said it cut ties with Hunchun processors and got its last shipment this summer.

Often the fish arrives in generic packaging.

Some questionable products include salmon from Walmart or ALDI supermarkets under the brand name "Sea Queen".

"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".

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