(National Post) When the North Korean carpenter was offered a job in Kuwait in 1996, he leapt at the chance.
He was promised $120 a month, an unimaginable wage for most workers in his famine-stricken country, where most people are not allowed to travel abroad.
But for Rim Il, the deal soured from the start: Under a moonlit night, the bus carrying him and a score of other fresh arrivals pulled into a desert camp cordoned off with barbed wire fences.
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There, 1,800 workers, sent by North Korea to earn badly needed foreign currency, were living together under the watchful eyes of North Korean government supervisors, Rim said. They worked from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., or often, midnight, seven days a week, doing menial jobs at construction sites.