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Meeting North Koreans outside the country in freedom

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By Casey Lartigue Jr.

With North Korea's border closed due to COVID-19 concerns, could the world be missing an opportunity to engage and even rescue North Koreans who have been dispatched by North Korea to work or study abroad but can't return now?

"Modern slavery" is how the International Society for Human Rights describes what happens to North Koreans dispatched by the regime to work abroad. In late 2017, the U.N. Security Council adopted a resolution calling for the repatriation by the end of 2019 of all North Korean nationals earning income abroad.

I concede all arguments about North Korean overseas workers being exploited by the gangsters running the North (e.g., physical abuse in slave-like conditions with insufficient safety measures and confiscation of their income).

As someone working directly with North Korean refugees, however, I have observed six good reasons for welcoming North Koreans (not just workers) abroad despite that exploitation.

One, North Koreans can safely engage with people outside of the North. Lee Seo-hyun said in a speech at a Freedom Speakers International (FSI) conference that she had been brainwashed until she was intellectually challenged by a taxi driver when she was studying in........

© The Korea Times

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