Nepali migrant agricultural workers in South Korea working under the Employment Permit System (EPS) are suffering abusive treatment, the Amnesty International (AI), an international human rights organisation has said.
The organisation, in its report titled ‘Bitter Harvest’ launched today across the world simultaneously; states that presently there are 20,000 migrant workers in the South Korea and most of them are from Nepal, Vietnam and Cambodia.
Launching the report in Nepal, AI Nepal President Surya Bahadur Adhikari said with the introduction of EPS, the South Korea has started exploiting migrant workers.
During an interview with Nepali migrant workers who went to South Korea under EPS, it was found that they were hired for different natures of job against the contract, not paid as per the agreement, kept under duress and faced other different forms of exploitation.
The report was prepared on the basis of face-to-face interviews taken with migrant workers in ten cities of seven provinces of South Korea from February, 2013 to April, 2014.
Problems of migrant workers in South Korea have become more complicated as the South Korean government turned its deaf ear towards the AI 2006 and 2009 reports which exposed faults and weaknesses in EPS.
The workers are forced to work overtime without any payment and benefits, are offered unhygienic food and poor accommodation, and face discouragement if they went for legal treatment for injustice in the workplace, according to the report.
The AI has strongly called on the South Korean government to respect the ILO Convention No 29 in regard to forced labour and right to legal treatment to workers.
South Korea started hiring migrant workers with the launching of EPS in 2004.