[ Human Trafficking, Country-by-Country ]

NORTH KOREA (Tier 3) Extracted in part  from the U.S. State Dept 2023 TIP Report

The Government of the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking and, even considering the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, if any, on its anti-trafficking capacity, is not making significant efforts to do so; therefore the DPRK remained on Tier 3.  The government did not demonstrate any efforts to address human trafficking.  During the reporting period, there was a government policy or pattern of human trafficking in prison camps as part of an established system of political repression, as well as in labor training centers, in the mass mobilizations of adults and children, and in the imposition of forced labor conditions on DPRK overseas workers.  The government used proceeds from state-sponsored forced labor to fund government operations.

Prioritized Recommendations

End the use of state-sponsored forced labor, including among DPRK workers abroad, in prison camps, and through mass mobilizations of adults and children.

End the use of forced labor as punishment for DPRK citizens involuntarily repatriated from other countries.

Eliminate coercion tactics used to monitor and limit the movements and communications of workers overseas.

Cease the garnishing of wages of overseas workers for the purposes of subsidizing the state budget.

Provide assistance to victims exploited in the DPRK and to victims returned from abroad.

Criminalize sex trafficking and labor trafficking.

Investigate and prosecute trafficking cases and convict traffickers in accordance with the rule of law.

Increase transparency by allowing international human rights monitors to evaluate living and working conditions of workers, both domestically and abroad.

Forge partnerships with international organizations and NGOs to combat human trafficking.

Allow all North Koreans to choose their form of work and leave their employment at will.

Accede to the 2000 UN TIP Protocol.