Unpaid wages for 8 months
It was around July 15, 2006 that the Uzbekistan dance troupe ‘Shmalak’ entered Korea. Seven members, including the director, who entered Korea on an E-6 visa, are professional art troupes who tour around the world and perform. They signed a contract with ○○ Arts Performance Agency in Incheon and entered Korea for artistic performance activities.
The troupe performed for 4 months (July-November 2006) on a cruise ship at the coastal pier in Incheon, and then performed in the metropolitan area including Incheon and Busan. However, until now (until February 27, 2007), they received a meal of 1,500 won per person per day without receiving any salary, and had to work in a motel with no heating under the supervision of managers.
In the meantime, the company has asked for wages several times, but each time the company said ‘I don’t have any money’ and asked ‘Raise the food expenses, I can’t pay for it with 1,500 won a day’, but the company said ‘No’. did. Heating was also requested, but the company did not comply with the request at all. They thought that their situation was worse than that of a slave, so they demanded that they terminate the contract and return to their home country, but the employer made all kinds of fines and forced them to work as slaves.
When they did not receive a salary under these circumstances, around September 2006, four members of the group were assaulted at the office by a manager called the manager in the process of claiming their salary, and on October 5, 2006, without receiving a single penny from the salary. returned to his home country. One of the members also returned without getting paid around September 30th because he looked wrong to the president.
In response, the dancers protested against the anti-human rights situation and demanded legal treatment, but the company rather ordered them to be fined $1,000 per person in the name of breach of contract, and threatened to pay a penalty of $5,000 for all. Even though such a contract had never been stipulated, the company made forced labor through personal restraints in this way.
Forced labor in the state of human restraint is
also physically difficult due to the nature of the performing arts, and despite being unable to rehearse or perform for more than 4 hours a day, the company forcibly conducts rehearsals from 8:30 a.m. to 12 noon. I had them perform 3 or 4 times. The members had to finish the performance, which could be called forced labor, in a state of super-death until around 1 am. Sometimes, they went back and forth in the metropolitan area such as Gwangmyeong and Busan to digest the unreasonable performance schedule.
In addition, the company said that it would pay according to the number of performances from December 2006, and even unilaterally notified of matters not included in the contract. If there is no show, there is no money. It was no work, no pay. Because of that, I couldn’t eat for 5 days during the Lunar New Year holiday. He asked for a meal through an interpreter, but was also rejected because he did not have the money.
In addition, the company banned all contact with outsiders as well as resting on holidays. I couldn’t even go for a walk. The manager often came to the dormitory, and the manager stayed in the motel to monitor. The company threatened to send him back to his home country if possible. However, the members were unable to return after giving up the wages they had not received for 8 months, and on the other hand, they were in a situation where they were afraid of violence and were unable to help because of the fact that their colleagues were assaulted and forced to leave the country.
In the case of Hallida (51 years old), the leader of the group, she wanted to go to the hospital but could not go to the hospital because of a 1.5cm to 2cm lump on her breast. She wanted to go to the hospital because her lungs were not good, but she couldn’t because of the hospital expenses. In addition, the members demanded treatment in a state of joint abnormality due to excessive rehearsal for a long time, but the company left it unattended, and the younger brother in his home country was also the director of the art troupe because his chest condition was not good. However, the company did not hesitate to engage in anti-human rights measures that demanded all kinds of fines, and the company ignored even the request to return to the home country to receive hospital treatment.
Sexual harassment through fear and intimidation
These anti-human rights abuses tormented them for eight months. The manager was also living in the motel and monitoring it, and it was also forbidden to walk around the dormitory. Not only that, but oftentimes, the managers demanded that we sleep together, and at dawn they came into the motel they were staying in and demanded that we sleep together. Refusing to do so resulted in all sorts of insults.
Also, when I came in after finishing work at around 1 am, my manager and others asked for a kiss while I was drunk, and if I listened to him, I would do anything well. At that time, I had to feel shame and fear along with sexual blasphemy. The sexual harassment made them feel contempt for Korea.
Then, on February 25, 2007, the members were called to the office in the process of protesting when they did not receive the wages they had worked so far. At that time, the president and managers trembled at what kind of threat they had to the members. The members recalled that some members had been assaulted and had to leave the country in the past because of this, and the four members who felt threatened by their personal identity fled at dawn on February 26, 2007.
Due to this incident, on February 26, 2007, on March 1, 2007, the managers entered the room where they were staying at 1 am, searched the room in an atmosphere of fear and threatened them. It was so fearful that there was even an incident where the general manager, Halida, passed out. This caused Halida and Elina (21 years old) to panic because of fear and fear.
They did not end here, but seized the dancers’ ID cards, passports and alien registration cards, as well as luggage with various dance costumes. In violation of Article 33 of the Immigration Control Act, not only anachronistic illegal acts, but also wage extortion and blackmail threats, as well as sexual harassment, were not hesitant in all kinds of human rights violations.
Rapid events referral and investigation.
The Korea Migrant Workers Human Rights Center was accepted to the petition that requests the investigation of the infringement and violations of human rights of Uzbekistan Dance Company won the Incheon South Police Station on March 14, 2007, oesagye and powerful Incheon South Police Station 4 teams Investigation into the case was expedited.
As there were sensitive issues such as sexual harassment, the entire incident was confirmed by the investigation by the Incheon Southern Police Station, along with the investigation by the Incheon Metropolitan Police Agency’s Life Stability and the ONE-STOP Support Center. In the process, all nine members, including Uzbek Ms. Halida and Elina, received relief for their rights and human rights violations.
This case of human rights violations against Uzbekistan dance troupe included harsh working conditions and illegal forced labor that ignored even the contract for 8 months, unpaid wages, confiscated ID cards under the supervision of managers, mobilization of anti-forced labor and sexual harassment, It can be said that it is a human rights violation and labor exploitation case of a representative migrant worker who exploited and violated the labor force and human rights.
This case has a similarity to the human rights violation case of members of a traditional art performance troupe from Ivory Coast, Africa in 2002, and the case is still pending trial. What this shows is that in the case of art troupes who come in for the purpose of performing performances, it is a blind spot for all kinds of human rights violations, and it can be seen that the disregard for migrant workers, moral insensitivity, and lack of ethical awareness are still prevalent in our society. It can be said to be a wake-up call. (Benjamin)
<Backstory> After the
incident was over, the luggage brought by these members was taken over. The luggage carried by the truck was lined with costumes for various performances. It really was a bunch. Would you say it is the burden of a wandering theater company?
Originally, these ‘Shmalak’ troupes were performing traditional performances in Uzbekistan. However, when they came to Korea, they had to dance Bali, salsa, gypsy, Latin, and cancan dance at the request of the business owner. Naturally, their dance had to be changed when they came to Korea, and they had to dance with a new repertoire. It is said that they danced at the request of the business owner, lamenting their plight, who had reluctantly flew over the country due to continuous arrears in wages.
But the result is only slave-like shackles coming back to them. They were imprisoned by shackles like the fines of the housekeepers. As a result, the traditional Uzbekistan performance costumes they brought became useless. Newly purchased dancing shoes from Uzbekistan were worn out and shabby. It was as if the shoes of the heart and pain they had suffered in the meantime were speaking in silence.
When the case was resolved, the members said they wanted to leave Korea as soon as possible. Although he toured the United States, Japan, and Europe to perform, he said he never dreamed of performing in a situation like a slave like in Korea. In any case, the members who received 8 months of unpaid wages and confiscated luggage, passports and air tickets smiled brightly.
Unpaid wages for 8 months