It is quite disturbing to see the conditions of foreign farm workers in Korea.
A few days ago on KBS news, they featured a video concerning the treatment of foreign workers in a rural farm. In the video, it was mentioned that there are 11 foreign workers in the farm who are all Cambodian. In just ten years, the number of foreign farm workers rose from 33 to 24,000. It would be difficult nowadays for a farm to continue its operations without the foreign workers. However, they are being mistreated by the farm owners. A few are assaulted and sometimes they are not given enough meals. And we know that there are cases where they are not being paid correctly. In some instances, female foreign farm workers in Korea are sexually molested. In the video, a drunk farm owner molested one of his female worker.
The foreign workers should be treated humanely, but that is not so in the cases mentioned above. According to the National Human Rights Commission, 75% of foreign workers suffer verbal abuse, 15% have been physically assaulted and 30% have experienced sexual violence.
The number of local labor offices is not enough to supervise the 64,000 workplaces that employ foreign workers. Also, the problem with the current EPS visa is that the workers are tied to their sponsors. They cannot leave their workplace arbitrarily. A revision on the EPS law is needed to protect the rights of the foreign workers in South Korea.