By Chloë Sherliker, HRNK intern
The forced expatriation of North Korean labor forces to Russia and China has been happening since 1967. In an attempt to generate much needed hard currency for the Kim regime, it is estimated that over 46,000 Koreans have been exported as labor forces to more than forty different countries. North Koreans working in certain professions—loggers, miners, and seamstresses—have produced around 7-8% of North Korea’s total exports profits, while up to 90% of the workers’ salaries are repatriated to Pyongyang. It is estimated that this forced labor scheme earns North Korea $150 million to $230 million USD per year.
HRNK staff members and interns wish to dedicate this program to our colleague Katty Chi. A native of Chile and graduate of the London School of Economics, Katty became a North Korean human rights defender in her early 20s. Katty was chief of international affairs with the North Korea Strategy Center (NKSC) in Seoul from 2010 to 2014 and worked with the Seoul Office of Liberty in North Korea (LinK) from 2019 to 2020. A remarkable member of our small North Korean human rights community, Katty brought inspiration and good humor to all. Katty passed away in Seoul this past May, at the young age of 32. She is survived by her parents and brother living in Chile. With the YPWP series, we endeavor to honor Katty’s life and work.