11 Filipinas sue owners of club
A group of 10 Filipino women and one teenaged girl, who came to Korea on entertainment visas, filed a lawsuit Wednesday against the owners of the club where they worked near a U.S. military base in Gyeonggi province. In the suit, the women alleged that they were locked up in the club and forced to provide sexual services to customers.
The suit was filed by the Philippine Embassy in Seoul on behalf of the women, who were deported to the Phillipines last June.
Reydeluz D. Conferido, a labor and employment official at the Philippine Embassy, said Wendesday, "A legal representative was selected with the help of the Korean Lawyers' Association for a Democratic Society with part of the fees paid by the Korean government."
While he did not give an exact amount, Mr. Conferido said the women were seeking around 20 million won ($15,800) each in damages.
In a recent investigation of the living and working conditions of Filipino bar maids working in Korea, the embassy found that the 10 women and the girl, who arrived in Korea last March on E-6 visas to work in the club in Dongducheon, had their passports taken away by the club owners. They were also reportedly locked in a room where they were forced to have sex with customers.
Mr. Conferido said one of the women, in her 20s, was impregnated by one of the customers and had a miscarriage because of a sexually transmitted disease.
The club owners were forced to pay a fine last June after the embassy filed a complaint against them, but the women were then forced to leave the country.
Meanwhile, International Organization for Migration, an intergovernmental organization, reported the case to its headquarters in Geneva. With the help of the Ministry of Gender Equality, the organization said it will conduct a separate survey of prostitution near military installations.
Lee Sang-hee, a member of the Korean Lawyers' Association for a Democratic Society, said, "A significant number of foreign women who came to Korea for work are forced into prostitution and denied their basic human rights. Through this case, we hope to shed light on the issue of human rights in Korea."