Two migrant workers in South Korea yesterday appealed to the Cambodian Embassy in Seoul for help in navigating a legal dispute they launched against their employer after he allegedly violently assaulted them.
The two women, Chor Kaikongkea and Heng Pon, travelled to South Korea in 2013 to work in a seafood factory, but the following year, their employer allegedly beat them.
The pair produced pictures that appear to show their employer with a hand raised above a cowering worker, and one of the women sporting a deep purple bruise around her left eye. The pictures were posted on the Facebook page of Cambodia’s Ambassador to South Korea Long Dimanche, who wrote that the embassy would look into their case.
“The Cambodian Embassy in Korea found a lawyer to help them and we will examine this case to help them since they did not get any justice for two years after they [allegedly] were abused by their employer,” he wrote.
Kaikongkea and Pon declined to be interviewed yesterday, but Phak Myhang, chief of the Cambodian Chhun Nam Kwang Chou Association in South Korea, said her organisation was working with the pair, who had both found other employment.
Moeun Tola, head of labour rights NGO Central, said abuse at the hands of employers abroad was “quite common”, and added Cambodian consulates rarely had the legal infrastructure to help.
“It is still a serious challenge for Khmer workers overseas to get justice as they always have to wait a long time and are faced with financial difficulty.”