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On Friday, he spoke at the National Press Club, where he urged the Trump administration to make human rights as important as denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.“Human rights should take a large place along with denuclearization,” Roh said through a translator.

He said when the people of North Korea are given freedom, “denuclearization will happen naturally.”

Suzanne Scholte, president of the Defense Forum Foundation and chairwoman of the North Korea Freedom Coalition, said when the United States fails to put human rights front and center it “feeds the lie” Kim and other North Korean officials tell citizens that the United States is a dangerous enemy of the state.

Scholte added that she believes President Donald Trump and others on his team, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, are putting the right pressure on the North Korean regime by continuing sanctions and making strict requirements for the denuclearization process.

Roh said the North Korean government promises that jobs in other countries will be lucrative and many sign up to work for several years abroad only to discover most of their earnings are seized and that they are continually monitored by Korean security officials.

He said one man he worked with starved himself to death hoping his family would be reimbursed for his loss. But the regime told his family he had not earned enough for the party to qualify and only gave them the ashes of their loved one.

A fact sheet distributed to the media at the press conference reveals the dark reality of the North Korean slave labor operation which, aside from exporting workers abroad, includes domestic slave labor, including children.

  • The estimated number of North Koreans working in other countries ranges from 50,000 to 147,600 in 45 countries.
  • About 80 percent of North Koreans working abroad are in Russia and China.
  • The number of slave laborers abroad has increased dramatically since Kim came to power in 2011, according to the Korea Development Institute.
  • As much as 80 to 90 percent of overseas laborers’ compensation is taken for a “loyalty fund.”
  • Some studies indicate that, each year, overseas laborers raise from $1.2to $2.3 billion for the Kim regime.
  • Laborers work an average of 12 to 16 hours a day to fulfill a monthly quota which, if not met, means no payment at all.

Roh was fortunate to escape while working in Russia and finally made it to South Korea. But Roh still does not know the fate of his family, who disappeared after his defection.

The People for Successful Corean Reunification and the Lawyers for Human Rights and Unification of Korea also sponsored the event.

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