Human rights for migrant workers in South Korea [infographic]

Human rights of migrant workers can be easily neglected sometimes in the name of convenience, or discrimination. The survey shows shocking figures of the reality.

infographic human rights for migrant workers in south korea

《 Click to see migrant workers’ human rights conditions infographic.


Korea is a source, transit, and destination country for individuals subject to sex trafficking and forced labour. Unskilled labours and the disabled are especially vulnerable to trafficking. According to the 2015 Trafficking in Persons Report released by the US department of state, South Korea has been ranked Tier 1, the highest of 3 rankings. It, however, does not indicate the low level of trafficking existence nationwide, but that the government acknowledges the existence of trafficking and made an effort to address the issue. It is making progress, albeit inadequate. On top of all, my concern is 2 things: Employment Permit System(EPS) and E6-2 Visa, when it comes to systematic defect, or government’s oblique stance at human rights. From my primitive view, EPS seems very user-friendly when the user is employers. It highly limits the rights of migrant workers by favouring employers or government to control the “temporarily imported” labour.

Women, especially from China, Philippines, and Kyrgyzstan, with E6-2 visa known as entertainment visa, are easily exposed to sex trafficking. The visa is believed to partly function as a ticket to crime for traffickers, yet there isn’t a significant modification or improvement at policy level. I won’t much talk about them here specifically. But I want to talk about human rights issue among migrant workers in Korea.

Trafficking data at national level is not available in Korea. However, there was one survey in 2013 on human rights conditions of 161 migrant workers working in agriculture and livestock sectors. I’ve summerised some quantified results in the infographic. Please refer to the original report(at least executive summary) for clear understanding if any of those figures are confusing.

Research report available HERE: National Human Rights Commission of Korea

# migrant working conditions, human trafficking, EPS South Korea

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An anthropology novice with passion for small things. A development worker in a world of imponderabilia.

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