A recent report by International Organization for Migration shows the prolonged coronavirus pandemic has particularly affected migrant women around the world, putting them at greater risk of exploitation, job insecurity and violence.
Migrant women in South Korea are no exception, as our Julie Sohn explains.
According to the Seoul Counseling Center for Migrant Women, legal assistance for issues such as domestic violence and divorce procedures accounted for the highest proportion of counseling cases they received last year amid the pandemic.
In line with this trend, Seoul city recently opened a counseling center specifically dedicated to migrant women victims of domestic violence.
With statistics putting the number of migrants in South Korea at roughly 2 million people and growing, Lee Jae-ho, a lawyer with Migrant Center Friends, says establishing an institutional system is just a start.
Much more needs to be done.
Lee Jae-ho, lawyer at Migrant Center Friends
"There is a lack of education for migrant women about how they can protect their rights or where they can turn for help. Authorities really must rethink how they can better provide the support services they've created for migrant women."
Lee also stressed that instead of perceiving these women as foreigners or parts of multicultural families, they must be accepted as true members of Korean society to help them fully adapt to life here.