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February 10, 2017
N. Korea’s child slavery problem is even worse than imagined
They work long hours, don’t get paid and have little say over what they do.
Stuck in slave-like conditions, many never get the chance to escape their situation.
But this is the reality for many North Koreans who are forced to work in a shocking and inhumane environment.
These people are literally servants to the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un — and to make it worse, many are not even adults.
Human Rights Watch has highlighted the brutal and barbaric lives youngsters face in the secretive country, with many, especially poor children, having little option of escape.
Detailing the plight of two teens who escaped from North Korea and using research and analysis from several sources, HRW said children were being exploited through forced labor and discrimination.
One teen was recruited into forced labor every day due to her family’s inability to pay for schooling, while another became an unpaid worker in a home after her family was unable to support her.
The teens, who will present their accounts to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child this week, are just the tip of the iceberg, HRW claims.
HRW has called on the UN to pressure the North Korean government to put an end to forced labor and discrimination.
Deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson said the conditions many children were subjected to were deplorable and must be stopped.
“Forcing children to work is an egregious human rights abuse condemned worldwide, but for many North Korean students, it’s a part of their everyday life,” he said.
North Koreans Jeon Hyo-Vin, 16, and Kim Eun-Sol, 18, will reveal what they endured at the hands of the regime.