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in-focus

Students endured harassment and harsh treatment in Korea ‘like human trafficking victims’


Eight college students who reported sexual harassment and unfair internship conditions during their months-long stay in South Korea could be considered human-trafficking victims, officials have said. 

The students, aged from 16 to 22 years, are now under the care of Chiang Rai-based authorities. 
“I have already discussed [their cases] with representatives of the Chiang Rai Labour Office, the Chiang Rai Employment Office, the 37th Military Circle and the anti-human trafficking centre. We have agreed that this case may constitute a human-trafficking crime,” Anira Thinon of the Chiang Rai Social Development and Human Security Office said on Friday. 
The students went to South Korea for internship via an arrangement of their school, the Chiang Rai College of Agriculture and Technology, a few months ago. 
Male students reported harsh work conditions while the females complained of sexual harassment. 
They were not paid during their internship, but a South Korean firm offered free air tickets from Thailand, free lodging, and free meals. 
Anira’s office will help the students lodge a complaint with police. 
The Office of the Vocational Education Commission has set up a fact-finding committee to investigate the incident. The college’s current director Charoen Chuamuangphan is facing a transfer. 
Nimitchai Asai, who will be acting college’s director from July 3, will chair the fact-finding committee.

Published : June 16, 2017

By : Nattawat Laping The Nation