been to the most fucked up place on Earth– twice. The Hermit Kingdom
of North Korea. (WHISPERING) It’s
totally insane. The thing is, when you
go to North Korea, you’re not a tourist. You’re on a
government-sanctioned tour. And you can’t go anywhere
outside your hotel without your guide, your translator,
and your secret police. You’re also not allowed
cellphones, radios, or computers of any kind, and are
taken on a tightly scheduled, highly orchestrated tour– only of the sites and
monuments that they want you to see. So you end up travelling for
hours and hours on empty roads only to see the Palace of the
People, or the Library of the People, or the Soccer
Team of the People. The only thing you never get to
actually meet is the people of the people. In fact, you’re not allowed to
talk to anyone unless they’re officially sanctioned
as part of the tour. [VOCAL MUSIC] So when I heard that North Korea
was actually exporting its own people as a way to
generate much-needed hard currency, I wanted to go and see
if I could actually talk to them and maybe find out what
it’s actually like to live inside the Hermit
Kingdom. We found out from one of our
correspondents in Russia that there were actually secret
North Korean labor camps hidden in the depths
of Siberia. So we flew to the far eastern
region of Russia and hopped on the Trans-Siberian railway,
which is essentially the only lifeline for Siberia and
the Far East region. Her bum was hanging
out of her shorts. We’re here in Khabarovsk in
Siberia, we’re about to get on this train for about
28 hours to go to the middle of nowhere. And we’re going to go check out
the secret North Korean labor camps in Siberia. It’s hot as shit. [MUSIC PLAYING] SHANE SMITH: Simon, hi. SIMON OSTROVSKY: Hi. SHANE SMITH: My name is Shane. I’m from America. We’re here with our
friend Simon. We’ve been on the train
for a long time. We’re going a bit goofy. Where are we going? SIMON OSTROVSKY: We’re going to
Tynda, in the Amur region of Russia, in the Far East to
look for the North Koreans. SHANE SMITH: The thing about
this is, it’s mind boggling that North Korea, the most
hermetic state in the world, the Hermit Kingdom it’s
actually called, is outsourcing its labor. But they outsource their labor
into miniature North Korean villages so that you don’t ever
lose the North Korean experience. So it’s like North Korean-type
buildings, North Korean propaganda, North Korean
pictures, North Korean songs. They wake up and sing the
North Korean anthem. SIMON OSTROVSKY: They bring
North Koreans in for three-year contracts. After they’re done working here,
they get sent back to North Korea. They spend a month in a
reintegration camp to get all of the propaganda that
they’ve missed. Most of the workers are over 40
years old, so they all have families back home. So they know that if they try to
run away, then their family back home gets in trouble. SHANE SMITH: The North Koreans
are making money to support the regime. And these poor dudes are out
there in the middle of nowhere singing “God save Kim Jong-Il”
and working in near-slave conditions. SIMON OSTROVSKY: This is kind
of the only place where you can actually have an entre into
how they actually live day-to-day. SHANE SMITH: Question– are we going to get assassinated
for going to talk to the North Koreans? SIMON OSTROVSKY:
Quite possibly. People aren’t going to
be happy to see us. That’s for sure. SHANE SMITH: Why is it that the
best stories always take so long to get to? SIMON OSTROVSKY: Because all
of the easy-to-get-to ones have been done by programs
better than yours. SHANE SMITH: [LAUGH] He’s a prickly pear, this guy. He’s a prickly pear. You should be British because
you’re a cunt. [LAUGH] Now, you have to remember that
everything in Siberia, almost without exception, is very,
very fucking far away from everything else. And even though it was the
height of summer and 100 degrees outside, because it’s
Russia, the heat gauge on the train had been turned on full
and then broken off– probably circa 1971. So the experience is essentially
like being trapped on a boiling-hot, reeking,
drunken sauna 24 hours a day. Oh shit, hello. Now we’ve got crazy dude here. MALE SPEAKER: [SPEAKING RUSSIAN] [LAUGHS] SHANE SMITH: It’s a very good
thing I’ve taken a Xanax. [MUSIC PLAYING]