This article starts off, "I went to the most fucked up place on earth. Twice." Shane Smith wanted to talk to North Koreans. You can't do that in North Korea, so he went to Siberia instead. His Russian guide predicted that, "People aren't going to be happy to see us, that's for sure." If Shane hadn't paid off the Russian mafia beforehand, he might not have come home again.
(Also see his original trip to North Korea, where he tried to learn about Kim Jong Il's movie studio.)
You might want to click through to the page on the Vice website, where you learn lots of additional details about how the team got out of Russia afterwards.
According to an April, 2012 article in the Korea Times, "there are over 20,000 North Korean loggers working" (in Siberia). Eight of them escaped, found sanctuary, and have been allowed to travel to South Korea, where they will be granted citizenship and social assistance. It's not easy for North Koreans to live in South Korea, but it beats the hell out of a Siberian labor camp.
UPDATE: The US State Department 2012 Trafficking in Persons Report says the following about North Koreans in Siberian logging camps.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 North Korean workers are estimated to be employed in logging camps in Russia’s Far East, where they reportedly have only two days of rest per year and face punishments if they fail to meet production targets. Over the past year, reports indicated that the North Korean government worked harder to place North Korean workers in Russia, particularly in the Far East. Wages of some North Korean workers employed in Russia reportedly were withheld until the laborers returned home.
http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/192596.pdf (Starts on Page 12 of 66)