A North Korean laborer has filed a landmark criminal complaint against a Dutch shipbuilding company that allegedly profited from the abuse of workers in its supply chain in Poland and was aware of the "slave-like conditions," lawyers said on Thursday.

A law firm representing the worker — who has not been named, for his safety — has asked the Netherlands' public prosecutor to file a case against a shipbuilder that it says knowingly benefited by buying items that were cheaper due to the use of forced labor.

The legal action — revealed exclusively by the Thomson Reuters Foundation — could pile pressure on other companies in the Netherlands and beyond that profit from modern slavery in their global operations, according to lawyers and activists.