Chinese city to penalize firms that newly hire N. Korean workers

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AP also tracked the products made by North Korean workers to Canada, Germany and elsewhere in the European Union. These workers face threats of government reprisals against them or their relatives in the [North Korea] if they attempt to escape or complain to outside parties. The trade is illegal under a new law signed by President Donald Trump in August, which prohibits American companies from importing goods made by North Koreans anywhere in the world.

Aldi hasn't explained what its deal is yet, but the company's branches outside of America are already distancing themselves from tainted USA salmon supplies, regardless: Aldi Australia reassured the Australian today that it "operates independently" from America, but "did not respond" when prompted to guarantee that no seafood had ever been processed by North Korean forced laborers. There's no way to say where a particular package ends up, nor what percentage of a factory's products wind up in the U.S. And they are paid a fraction of their salaries, while the rest-as much as 70 percent-is taken by North Korea's government.

John Connelly, president of the National Fisheries Institute, the largest seafood trade association in the United States, told AP his group was urging all of its companies to immediately re-examine their supply chains "to ensure that wages go to the workers, and are not siphoned off to support a risky dictator". Some of that frozen fish in your cart may have been processed by North Koreans working in Chinese factories.

Those industries also export to the USA, but AP did not track specific shipments except for seafood.

Western companies involved that responded to AP said forced labor and potential support for North Korea was unacceptable in their supply chains. "It's supporting a repressive regime".

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Importers or company officials could face criminal charges for using North Korean workers or materially benefiting from their work, according to the law.

According to a North Korean source with knowledge of the issue, Chinese frontier public security officers in military garb are enforcing thorough inspections and crackdowns on smuggling from the Hwanggumpyong Island area to the Yalu River Estuary near Donggang. Some of those companies have already cut off those parts of their supply chains, others said they are investigating the matter. "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.

Often the fish arrives in generic packaging. Among the affected products is seafood distributed by the Fishin' Company (a Walmart supplier), Sea-Trek Enterprises (a Rhode Island company that sells to supermarkets and food-service companies in the USA and dozens of other countries), and Sea Queen (a brand exclusive to Aldi, which is now up to 1,600 locations in 35 states).

"Combating forced labour is a complex problem that no one company, industry, or government can tackle alone", she said.

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