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Statement by the Chairperson of the NHRCK on the Recommendations for the Individual Complaint Issued by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women
Date : 2023.12.22 13:44:21 Hits : 321

Statement by the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea on the Recommendations for the Individual Complaint Issued by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women


- UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women recommends to the Republic of Korea the following: That migrant woman victims of trafficking receive full reparations; that the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators involved in trafficking in persons be stepped up; and the adoption of a victim-centered and human rights-based approach -


   □ The Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission of Korea (Song Doo-hwan) issues the following statement on November 24, 2023 in order to convey the recommendation by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (hereinafter “the CEDAW Committee”) to the Republic of Korea. This statement pertains to the individual complaint filed against the Republic of Korea. Additionally, it urges the government of the Republic of Korea to faithfully implement the Committee’s recommendations.

 

  □ The three complainants, initially recruited as singers from abroad and arriving in South Korea in 2014, contrary to the articles of their employment contracts, were forcibly employed in adult entertainment clubs. The complainants were forced to provide sexual services to customers and were subjected to physical and psychological violence. The formal complaint to the CEDAW Committee contended that their rights, as stipulated under the Convention, were violated. This was attributed to the actions of the South Korean government, which, rather than recognizing and protecting them as victims, subjected them to interrogations regarding alleged involvement in prostitution and subsequently detained them in an immigration detention facility.


  □ After reviewing the complainants’ submissions and the observations made by the Korean government, the CEDAW Committee found that the state party was in violation of the rights under the Convention. The CEDAW Committee then recommended that the complainants be provided with full reparations, that investigation and prosecution of perpetrators of trafficking be conducted, and that a victim-centered and human rights-based approach be adopted.

 

    ○ The CEDAW Committee found that the complainants were treated not as crime victims but as criminals. It was further noted, “According to information brought before us, there were many signs of trafficking, such as confiscation of their passports, fear of the club owner, and the E-6-2 Visa, that the police and the immigration officers knew of and should have recognized.”

 

    ○ The CEDAW Committee identified a critical issue in police investigations, noting their primary emphasis on determining if victims were involved in prostitution, while neglecting to assess the victims' vulnerability and potential human rights violations. Furthermore, the CEDAW Committee highlighted that, in legal proceedings, instead of acknowledging the compelling evidence of coercion and intimidation, the focus was predominantly on the complainants' statements about not being under complete physical restraint. This perspective, steeped in stereotypes by the police and judiciary, significantly impaired their capacity to recognize and accurately identify victims of trafficking.

 

     ○ Moreover, the CEDAW Committee has requested that the decision regarding this case be translated into Korean, published, and widely disseminated. It also calls for the Korean government to provide a written response, including details on any actions undertaken in response to these recommendations, and to submit this report to the CEDAW Committee within a six-month period.

 

   □ These recommendations by the CEDAW Committee are in alignment with the recommendations by the National Human Rights Commission of Korea addressed to the government of Korea for the protection of victims of trafficking and eliminating trafficking.

 

   □ Human trafficking is a grave violation of human rights and the government bears responsibility for preventing this crime, punishing the perpetrators, and protecting and supporting victims of crime.

 

   □ Considering these findings, the NHRCK expresses its hope that the Korean government will proactively implement the CEDAW Committee's recommendations and maintain its commitment to preventing trafficking. The NHRCK reaffirms its dedication to collaborating with the government and civil society to achieve tangible progress in eradicating trafficking.


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