By Yun Suh-young
Nearly 80 percent of migrant workers said that they had experiences of being verbally abused at their workplaces, a survey from a rights group showed.
Out of the 931 surveyed people, 78.2 percent said that they were verbally abused, and 26.8 percent said they suffered physical abuse at work, according to a survey by the Joint Committee with Migrants in Korea (JCMK). Nearly 14 percent answered they were sexually harassed. They were allowed to make multiple answers in the survey.
The civic group has conducted the survey to measure the actual conditions of human rights abuses in Korea toward foreign migrant workers, marking the seventh year of implementing the foreigner employment permit system.
With the help of 33 member organizations around the country, the JCMK distributed surveys translated into 10 languages from May 1 to May 31, 2011.
“The human rights conditions of foreign migrant workers have not improved at all. We have conducted research on the actual conditions continuously for the past few years but we cannot say that any improvements have been made,” said Lee Young, secretary of the JCMK.
“The reason why discrimination exists in these work places is because the foreign migrant workers work in 3D jobs under poor conditions. Also, the prejudice against foreigners, especially from developing countries, still exists.”
Of the migrant workers, 40.4 percent said they waited for more than a year to come to Korea.
On their daily work hour, 39.5 percent said they work 8-10 hours, 34.9 percent 10-12 hours.
Separately, the Ministry of Labor said that the number of foreigners who came here for work topped the 700,000 mark as of the end of June, the latest available data.
Of the 1.39 million foreign residents, the number of foreigners whose visiting purpose is to work stood at 716,000. It represents 2.9 percent of the total number of employees here. It said illegal sojourners accounted for 166,000 or 23.6 percent of the foreign workers.