South Korea to allow sexually harassed female migrant workers to change employers

Breaking News September 11, 2018 06:43

By The Korea Herald
Asia News Network
Seoul

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Female migrant workers who are sexually harassed at work will soon be able to change employers within the sector.



The National Human Rights Commission of Korea on Monday said the Labor Ministry has accepted its recommendation to allow such changes.

Female migrant laborers who work at Korean farms are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment at the workplace, according to a report by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea. 

About 30 percent of them are estimated to have been sexually assaulted by superiors at work, while the figure for female migrant workers in other sectors, such as factories and restaurants, stands at about 10 percent. 

Some 324,000 foreign-born migrant women were working in Korea as of 2016, accounting for 33.7 percent of all migrant workers in the country, according to the report. The largest proportion of female migrant workers were employed at restaurants, manufacturing businesses and farms.

More than 50 percent of all foreign-born women who work at Korean farms, whose accommodations are provided by employers, live in either containers or vinyl greenhouses, often without locks, making them vulnerable to sexual harassment and other forms of violence, the report said. 

In a 2016 study that surveyed 87 foreign-born female farm workers living in vinyl greenhouses or containers, 55 percent said they had no choice but to share their accommodation with male migrant workers. Fifty percent said their Korean superiors at work had access to their accommodation and would make unannounced visits. 

The human rights agency advised the Korean Labor Ministry to come up with measures to ensure housing safety for all female migrant workers.

It has also advised the ministry to allow female migrant workers who are sexually harassed at work to change employers within the sector. 

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