human rights abuses are not exclusive to the northern part of the Korean peninsula.
A recent news report by the Associated Press brought to light how salt farm workers in South Korea are brutally abused like modern-day slaves.
The investigation reveals how two farmers escaped the “living hell” on the rural islands off South Korea's southwest coast.
Although similar cases of abuse and labor exploitation frequently emerge from the region, news organizations are apparently, and shamelessly, much more keen to report human rights violations at the hands of the evil North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.
The probe was initiated after two disabled workers, identified as Kim and Chae, managed to flee the salt farm in the province of South Jeolla last February and claimed they were forcibly enslaved.
Kim told the police then how his “nightmare” began in 2012 when he was offered a job by a stranger claiming to be an employment broker at a free meal center in Yeongdeungpo District, western Seoul.
Since Kim was homeless and disabled, he agreed to go for the opportunity.
He later found out that he had been sold for 1 million won ($927) to the owner of a salt pond situated on a small and isolated island near Mokpo in South Jeolla, where Kim was allegedly treated like a slave and wasn’t allowed to sleep for more than five hours at a time.
Chae, a 48-year-old mentally challenged man, also had a similar story to tell and had been on the island since 2008.
Both the men were told that they would have to pay several million won if they wanted to leave. They were forced to work more than 10 hours a day and were hardly ever paid.
The disturbing accounts of the two farmers sparked a nationwide probe ordered by South Korean President Park Geun-hye, but nothing has apparently changed.
“Although 50 island farm owners and regional job brokers were indicted, national police say no local police or officials will face punishment, despite multiple interviews showing some knew about the slaves and even stopped escape attempts,” the reports states.
What’s even more disturbing is the fact that not even the police can do anything to put an end to the rampant slavery in region.
“The police chief would tell me that I’d eventually come to understand that this was how things on the island worked,” a doctor who worked at one of the islands told AP.
It’s just sad how issues like human trafficking and slavery in South Korea have been eclipsed by news features on Kim Jong Un disappearing because of his cheese addiction.
Hopefully, the new investigation will change that – hopefully.