A senior textile, garment and leather workers' union official has travelled to Seoul amid accusations some South Korean companies treat garment workers as "virtual slaves" in "sweatshop" factories abroad.

The secretary general of the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers Federation (ITGLW) is in the South Korean capital to protest about the treatment of workers in countries including Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

The ITGLW, which represents garment workers around the world, allege that South Korean companies running factories abroad top the list of bad employers, with staff often beaten despite working long hours for poor wages.

Although the Korea International Trade Association has admitted that some South Korean businessmen abroad have treated local workers unfairly, they claim this can partly be blamed on different corporate cultures and that the situation is improving.

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