您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 国际 >> 正文


更新时间:2017-7-12 19:01:54 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

North Koreans in Russia Work ‘Basically in the Situation of Slaves’

VLADIVOSTOK, Russia — Across Western Europe and the United States, immigrants from poorer countries, whether plumbers from Poland or farmhands from Mexico, have become a lightning rod for economic anxieties over cheap labor.


The Russian city of Vladivostok on the Pacific Ocean, however, has eagerly embraced a new icon of border-crushing globalization: the North Korean painter.


Unlike migrant workers in much of the West, destitute decorators from North Korea are so welcome that they have helped make Russia at least the equal of China — Pyongyang’s main backer — as the world’s biggest user of labor from the impoverished yet nuclear-armed country.


“They are fast, cheap and very reliable, much better than Russian workers,” Yulia Kravchenko, a 32-year-old Vladivostok homemaker, said of the painters. “They do nothing but work from morning until late at night.”

“他们手脚麻利、便宜,而且非常可靠,比俄罗斯工人好多了,”现年32岁的符拉迪沃斯托克家庭主妇尤利亚·克拉维琴科(Yulia Kravchenko)谈及这些油漆工时说。“从早上到深夜,他们一门心思努力工作。”

The work habits that delight Vladivostok homeowners are also generating sorely needed cash for the world’s most isolated regime, a hereditary dictatorship in Pyongyang closing in on a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the United States. Just last week, the North reached a milestone by testing its first intercontinental ballistic missile.


Squeezed by international sanctions and unable to produce many goods that anyone outside North Korea wants to buy — other than missile parts, textiles, coal and mushrooms — the government has sent tens of thousands of its impoverished citizens to cities and towns across the former Soviet Union to earn money for the state.


Human rights groups say this state-controlled traffic amounts to a slave trade, but so desperate are conditions in North Korea that laborers often pay bribes to get sent to Russia.


North Korean laborers helped build a new soccer stadium in St. Petersburg to be used in next year’s World Cup, a project on which at least one of them died. They are working on a luxury apartment complex in central Moscow, where two North Koreans were found dead last month in a squalid hostel near the construction site. They also cut down trees in remote logging encampments in the Russian Far East that resemble Stalin-era prison camps.


But they have left their biggest and most visible mark in Vladivostok, providing labor to home repair companies that boast to customers how North Koreans are cheaper, more disciplined and more sober than native Russians.


“Surprisingly, these people are hardworking and orderly. They will not take long rests from work, go on frequent cigarette breaks or shirk their duties,” promised the website of a Vladivostok company.


The home repair industry stands at the more benign end of North Korea’s labor export program. Painters and plasterers are not generally subjected to the brutal mistreatment endured by North Koreans working in Russian logging camps or on construction sites.


Though rigidly controlled by minders from the Workers’ Party of Korea, the ruling party in Pyongyang, they do not, on the whole, live in what the State Department in its recently released annual report on human trafficking called “credible reports of slave-like conditions of North Koreans working in Russia.”

他们虽然受到出身于本国执政党朝鲜劳动党(Workers' Party of Korea)的监管人的严格控制,但整体而言,其生活与美国国务院在最近发布的人口贩卖状况年度报告中的描绘并不相符,国务院说“有可靠的举报显示,在俄罗斯工作的朝鲜人过着奴隶般的生活”。

All the same, they still suffer from what human rights groups say is a particularly egregious feature of Pyongyang’s labor export program: Most of their earnings are confiscated by the state.


A lengthy report on North Korean workers in Russia issued last year by the Data Base Center for North Korean Human Rights, a group in Seoul, said the Workers’ Party of Korea seizes 80 percent of the wages earned by forestry workers and at least 30 percent of the salaries paid to laborers working in construction. Further money is taken to cover living expenses, mandatory contributions to a so-called loyalty fund and other “donations.”

首尔人权团体朝鲜人权数据库(Data Base Center for North Korean Human Rights)去年发布长篇报告称,朝鲜劳动党会拿走林业工人80%的工资,以及建筑业劳工至少30%的工资。还有一些钱被额外扣掉,用于支付生活费、强制性供款给所谓的忠诚基金以及进行其他“捐赠”。

This “exploitative structure,” the report said, constitutes “one of the fundamental causes of the North Korean workers’ inhumanly hard labor in Russia.”


The human rights group estimated that the North Korean authorities earn at least $120 million a year from laborers sent to Russia, a vital source of income for a family dynasty founded, with Moscow’s backing, by Kim Il Sung in 1948 and now headed by his 33-year-old grandson, Kim Jong Un. It put the number of North Koreans working in Russia at nearly 50,000, though other studies say the number is 30,000 to 40,000, which is still more than in China or the Middle East, the other principal destinations.

据朝鲜人权数据库估计,朝鲜当局每年可以从被派往俄罗斯的劳工身上赚取至少1.2亿美元,这对金家王朝来说是一个重要的收入来源。朝鲜政权于1948年由金正日(Kim Jong-il)在莫斯科支持下创立,现在的掌舵者是他的孙子、现年33岁的金正恩(Kim Jong Un)。该团体认为共有近5万朝鲜人在俄罗斯工作,不过另有研究显示人数在3万至4万之间,这仍然多于别的主要目的地的朝鲜工人数量,不管是中国或中东。

The Russian boss of a Vladivostok decorating company that employs scores of North Koreans said the amount of money seized from salaries had increased substantially over the past decade, rising to a current monthly rate of 50,000 rubles, or $841, from 17,000 rubles a month in 2006. He said his highest-paid workers now lose half or more of their monthly salary through confiscation, while the leader of each construction squad of around 20 to 30 laborers takes an additional cut of about 20 percent in return for finding painting jobs for his men.


The Russian asked that he not be identified because he feared that Workers’ Party supervisors would punish his laborers or prevent them from working with him.


The increased rate of confiscation followed a sharp fall in the value of the ruble against the dollar, a troubling development for a regime that wants dollars, not rubles.


But the jacking up of the amount of rubles seized more than compensated for the ruble’s fall, reflecting Pyongyang’s desperate hunt for more cash since Kim Jong Un took power in December 2011 and ramped up North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.


International sanctions and a Chinese ban on imports of North Korean coal in February after a series of missile tests have steadily squeezed Pyongyang’s other sources of foreign revenue. That has left the export of labor, along with a string of state-run restaurants and other small businesses in Vladivostok and elsewhere, as one of the regime’s shrinking list of ways to generate hard currency.


The Russian boss said North Koreans work “crazily long hours” without complaint and call him at 6 a.m., even on weekends, if he has not yet shown up to tell them what to paint or plaster. “They don’t take holidays. They eat, work and sleep and nothing else. And they don’t sleep much,” he said. “They are basically in the situation of slaves.”


All the same, he added, North Koreans still want to work in Russia, where, despite the hardships and confiscation of a big chunk of their wages, they can live better and freer than they do at home.


“It is not slave labor but hard labor. And it is much better here than in North Korea,” Georgy Toloraya, a former Russian diplomat in Pyongyang, said.

“他们不是奴工,而是苦工。而且这里的生活比朝鲜好得多,”前俄罗斯驻平壤外交官多格奥尔基·托洛拉亚(Georgy Toloraya)说。