KIWA Calls for Letter Campaign to Defend Domestic Worker from Diplomatic Abuse

taken from KIWA release

In October 2000, Ms. Tae Sook Park, a Chinese national of Korean descent, contacted KIWA regarding a shocking case of exploitation. For the two years prior to this date, Ms. Park had worked as a domestic worker for Bong Kil Shin, the Deputy General of the San Francisco Korean Consulate. She worked roughly 13-14 hours a day, 7 days a week, for a meager wage of $300-$500 per month. She had been "trafficked" from China; her passport, confiscated. After being fired from her job, Ms. Park had little money or personal connections, and she literally had nowhere to turn. It was one of the worst cases of worker exploitation KIWA had ever seen. The fact that the perpetrator was the Korean Vice Consul General and a so-called "leader" in the Korean community made the situation worse.

KIWA quickly responded by helping Ms. Park file a federal lawsuit in San Francisco with legal representation by the Asian Law Caucus. A statewide coalition of twelve organizations came together to demand justice from the Korean Consulate, resulting in a sixteen person delegation visit to the San Francisco Consulate in July 31st, 2001. The coalition even grew to international proportions as labor advocates in Korea began formulating strategies to demand answers from the Korean Foreign Ministry. Despite these efforts, our campaign ran into a hurdle in August 2001, when U.S. District Court Judge Maxine M. Chesney dismissed Ms. Park's lawsuit based on the consular immunity the Shins received. Ms. Park has filed an appeal.

KIWA is determined not to allow the legal setback stop this campaign for basic decency. Despite the ruling in the courts, the call for justice is growing in the streets. KIWA asks that you add your voice to this campaign as soon as possible by printing the attached letter and mailing it to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs and Trade in Korea. The postage cost is $0.80 (per ounce); please mail it via Air Mail or in an envelope.

You may contact Liz Sunwoo, Community Organizer or Danny Park, Executive Director at KIWA?