Bulgaria suspends labor imports from N.K.

SEOUL-- Bulgaria said Monday that it has suspended imports of workers from North Korea amid criticism that Pyongyang is extorting money earned by their people overseas.

The action was taken along with the Czech Republic and Romania, the Bulgarian Embassy to South Korea said in a press release.

"Bulgaria, the Czech Republic and Romania set a precedent by ceasing their labor imports after realizing the conditions of North Korean overseas laborers," it said.

"The suspension of receiving North Korean laborers by these three East European countries is an example where states have actively taken measures against the extortions of the laborers' remuneration," it added.

The North's labor exports is regarded as a major source of currency for North Korea but frequently criticized as modern slavery due to harsh working conditions and extortion of money by the cash-strapped regime.

About 50,000-60,000 North Koreans are believed to be toiling overseas, mainly in the mining, logging, textile and construction industries. The North reportedly receives more than US$100 million from their overseas labor every year.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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