Mexican Police Rescue 129 ‘Abused’ Workers in South Korean Factory

by REERA YOO | @reeraboo

Mexican authorities rescued 129 workers on Feb. 4, who claimed that they were exploited and physically abused at a garment factory run by South Koreans, according to Agence France-Presse.

After receiving an anonymous tip, authorities raided the company Yes International in the Mexican state of Jalisco and arrested four South Korean nationals after they were identified as the factory owners by workers, according to the National Migration Institute (INM). The four South Koreans are suspected to be gang of human traffickers, said Ardelio Vargas Fosado, an INM coordinator.

During the operation, the police rescued 121 women and eight men, including six minors who were 16 and 17 years old. According to Victor Manual Torres Moreno, a labor ministry official, the workers were subjected to physical and sexual abuse and toiled in unsanitary and dangerous working conditions, in which they were forced to handle materials that posed a fire hazard. They were also not given employment contracts or overtime pay, despite working more than eight hours per day with only 15-minute meal breaks.

Jalisco’s chief prosecutor, Luis Carlos Najera, told Korean news site SBS that authorities are currently investigating whether or not the factory owners committed child abuse or sexual crimes. Meanwhile, the underage workers were returned to their families. The Mexican police added that they are doing a background check on the minors’ family conditions.


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Photo courtesy of AFP