The Korea Herald


Migrant women workers’ housing safety compromised in South Korea: report

By Claire Lee

Published : Sept. 10, 2018 - 18:04

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More than 50 percent of all foreign-born women who work in Korean farms, whose accommodation in the country is provided by their Korean employers live in either containers or vinyl greenhouses often without any  locks, making them vulnerable to sexual harassment and other forms of violence, a report showed on Monday.

The report, released by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea, showed that there were about 324,000 foreign-born migrant women who were working in Korea as of 2016. They accounted for 33.7 percent of all migrant workers in South Korea, and the largest proportion of them worked for restaurants, manufacturing businesses and farms.

(Yonhap) (Yonhap)

The report found that migrant women laborers who work at Korean farms are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment at workplace. 

Researchers say about 30 percent of them are estimated to have been sexually assaulted by their superiors at work, while about 10 percent of migrant women who work in other sectors, such as factories and restaurants, have experienced the same.

According to a 2016 study, which surveyed 87 foreign-born, female farm workers who lived in vinyl greenhouses or containers provided by their Korean employers, about 55 percent of them said they had no choice but to share their accommodation with male migrant workers, and 50 percent said their Korean superiors at work had access to their accommodation, often without any locks, and would make frequent unannounced visits.

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

It has also advised the ministry to make an arrangement so that should any female migrant worker get sexually harassed at work, she would be entitled to work for other employers in the sector. The Labor Ministry has accepted the recommendation and will take the necessary steps accordingly, the agency added. (