North Korea’s state-run—and only—news agency, KCNA, says patriotic orphaned children have volunteered to work in coal mines and farms. Pictures included with the article show kids who look to be young teens. The kids, apparently raised by the state, are said to be doing difficult and dangerous work "to repay even just a millionth of the love the party showed," which is a type of claim common in North Korean media, per NK News
. The US State Department has accused of Pyongyang of using forced child labor in the past, and the BBC
has reported on South Korean prisoners of war being enslaved for generations.
In the past, North Korean claims of young people "volunteering" for dangerous or difficult work have shown older teens or young adults, NK News notes. According to NBC News
, the KCNA report says the kids had graduated from middle school. North Korea has denied using forced child labor in the past. The images of young teens going off to work in mines and farms comes at a time when North Korea's President Kim Jong-un is said to be cracking down on dissent among youth and trying to cut out pop culture and media from outside the country’s borders, per the BBC.
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