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Labor camps in North Korea

by MEGAN ROMANCZUK Section Editor

Satellite images were recently released to the general public of North Korea’s labor camps. The images show the labor camps evolving into something more powerful, especially since camps are more crowded and populated.

There are many reasons as to why a person and their family members can get sent to a labor camp. If a person wants to leave the country, has different religious beliefs, is born a mixed race, or is related to a family member that was not loyal to the leader, they easily be sent to be punished.

The camps are spread throughout different parts of North Korea; camp 14 is in central North Korea, camp 15 is located in east-central North Korea, camp 16, 22 and 25 are found in northeastern North Korea, and camp 18 is across the river from camp 14.

All labor camps range from a political prison camps to labor-training camps.

Kyohwaso is a labor-rehabilitation camp that is surrounded by high walls with guard towers surrounding the whole perimeter. The camp can lock up 10,000 political prisoners, economic criminals, or criminals in general.

Citizens who go to Kyohwaso should expect unhealthy living conditions where most prisoners die within a year.

Camps that have the name Kwanliso are found in secretive areas surrounded by electrified fences with guards watching the gated area. Escaping a labor camp will result in death.

“I would hate to live in a world where every thought I make could result in me going into those harsh camps. I would rather go to school for the rest of my life than step foot into a camp where I could die at any second,” says senior Stephanie Holtje.

Camp 16 is a political prison camp, which in 2011 had 20,000 people locked up for good. The guards in camp 16 are very vicious and would make their already tortured prisoners shovel dirt to create their own graves. After they were finished, the guards would then beat them to death with hammers.

Within the past several years, unnatural deaths have gone up to 100,000. In camp 22, two children were pushed into a waste pond by a guard and later drowned. Women in camp 18 were raped then murdered by the guards

A life as a prisoner is not a walk in the park. Each person gets the same exact meal each sitting, which is 14 beans with a side of powered corn. Depending on how badly you are treated, some would have to dig through animal waste or dead animals in order to survive.

Prisoners will complete up to 12 to 14 hours of labor work a day, seven days a week with no pay. They are allowed one “vacation day” each month.

Children have it worse by living in conditions that force them to face starvation, torture, intense labor work, or death at any moment.

“It is disgusting that people can look a child in the eye and then execute them for doing nothing wrong,” says junior Nicole Cohen

Do you believe the United States should intervene in North Korea’s death camps?

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