Editor’s note: Imke B.L.H. van Gardingen (LLM Int. and EU labour
law, MA Korean Studies) is a policy advisor on labour migration at the Dutch
Federation of Trade Unions (FNV) and a researcher on DPRK overseas labour.
On November 8, 2018 a North Korean
overseas worker who had worked in slave like conditions for a Polish shipyard,
a supplier of a Dutch shipbuilding company, has filed a criminal complaint
against the Dutch firm. The Dutch Penal Code, article 273f(6), includes a
provision criminalizing the act of ‘profiting’ from labour exploitation,
targeting not the direct perpetrators in the labour exploitation, but the ones
profiting from this exploitation. This is a unique case that aims to hold the
company at the top of the chain accountable for modern slavery in its supply
chain. A chain that in the case of shipbuilding is rather short; the buyer
subcontracts the core business of building the complete hull under detailed
instructions cheaply abroad. More...