The ministries of gender equality, justice and labor will conduct a joint inspection of local businesses hiring foreign performers to tackle a growing number of prostitution and wage exploitation cases being reported in recent years, officials said Wednesday.
The measure came after civic groups and foreign embassies here raised concerns that some female E-6 visa holders were being forced into prostitution and trafficked by agencies or businesses that hired them as performers.
An E-6 visa holder refers to foreign national entering Korea to take part in cultural and artistic performances. Foreigners issued with the visa are allowed to make profits for their professional activities.
Gender Equality Minister Cho Youn-sun said the government will strengthen the protection of female foreign workers and their human rights by joining with the relevant ministries and drafting new measures to systematically rescue and help the victims safely back to their home countries.
As of July, the country had a total of 4,879 foreign nationals on the E-6 visa. Nearly 85 percent of them carry the E-6-2 visa, which specifically allows work at hotels or entertainment businesses.
By Cho Chung-un (firstname.lastname@example.org