Report: North Korean women working on tomato farm in Poland

Farmers load tomatoes onto a truck during harvest at the Grzegorz Tokarski farm in Gorne, eastern Poland, in 2014. A new report says North Korean women are being used as forced labor in Polish tomato fields. File Photo by Wojciech Pacewicz/European Pressphoto Agency

SEOUL, Dec. 27 (UPI) — North Korean women workers are being deployed as forced laborers at a tomato farm in Poland, according to a South Korean television network.

The workers reportedly work 70 hours a week but are only allowed to take home $75 in monthly pay, KBS reported Tuesday.

The women were being held in confinement at a farm in Sarnow, about 170 miles southwest of Warsaw, the Polish capital.

A KBS reporter who investigated the site attempted to gain access to the farm surrounded by high fences but was turned away by a Polish guard.

The guard told the reporter that he is “just an employee” and that he “knows nothing” about North Korean workers.

“I cannot answer your question,” the guard says in the KBS video footage.

But in the evening the reporter returned to the site, where a Ukrainian worker said more than 100 North Korean women are working on the farm.

The worker said there are separate dormitory facilities for the women.

The women also were found shopping for groceries at a local supermarket the next day.

The North Koreans KBS interviewed at the market appeared to be in their early 20s, and avoided answering questions from the South Korean journalist.

The women are allowed to leave their compound for two hours a week to buy necessities, according to the report.

One woman denied they were forced laborers and said she and the others are allowed to work as much as they want to, “sometimes 8 hours, other times 5 hours” a day.

“We are here because we want to earn money,” the woman said.

In June, Poland stated North Korean workers were no longer being permitted to enter the country.

North Korea’s deployment of forced laborers, about 50,000 in total, according to one South Korean estimate, earns the Kim Jong Un regime up to $300 million a year.


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