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Migrant workers report more claims of sexual assault on farms

The Korea Herald, South Korea, 30 March 2021 - Amid a growing shortage of migrant workers in South Korea, reported cases of sexual violence, assault and overdue wages among foreign workers have continued to emerge as they accuse their employers for exploiting their vulnerable status.

Police said on Monday it is investigating a case of sexual assault after receiving a complaint that a Cambodian worker was sexually assaulted by a farm owner.

The complaint, filed by a migrant worker rights protection civic group, alleges that the farm owner in South Chungcheong Province forcibly entered a female worker’s accommodation and sexually assaulted her several times last year.

They also claimed in the complaint, “The owner of the farm forced her to undergo an abortion when she got pregnant, and threatened to ‘make her an illegal immigrant’ if she ran away.”

The case is among a series of reported sexual assaults and violence among foreigners who have accused their employers for taking advantage of their vulnerable status in recent years.

A farm owner in his 50s was sentenced to prison in November 2019 for trying to sexually assault a foreign worker on his farm.

The man, who ran a farm in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, took the female worker to a cabin and had attempted to sexually assault her before he was stopped by a fellow worker.

The same year, another owner of a farm in Gangwon, was also sentenced to probation after sexually harassing female employees on his farm. The foreign workers were deployed to the farm under the government’s employment program.

Both male and female workers have suffered abuse by their employers.

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