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VICE News

VICE News Archives: North Korean Labor Camps

In 2011, VICE co-founder Shane Smith found his way into a labor camp established by North Korea — in the heart of Siberia.

by VICE News
Nov 6 2014, 10:30pm

Jason Mojica

We've been making news documentaries since 2007. The VICE News Archive highlights some of our favorites.

In 2011, VICE co-founder Shane Smith found his way into a labor camp established by North Korea — in the heart of Siberia.

A new way to bring cold hard cash into the isolated economy of North Korea, North Korean workers are exported to slave away in the Siberian forest, often without even knowing they're no longer in North Korea.

Accompanied by the former chief of police, Shane and VICE News correspondent Simon Ostrovsky broke into a disbanded North Korean labor camp to explore the propaganda and the "Laboratory of Kim Jong Il", and were led by a member of the local mafia to an active North Korean labor camp, where North Korean workers were remarkably candid about the living conditions back in their homeland — that is, until the FSB (Russian secret police), North Korean secret police and the local militia all decided to find out what we were up to, and the only logical next step was to make a run for the border.