Updated  
October, 25 2013 08:50:53

Female migrant workers at risk

Women search for information on overseas employment in central Quang Tri Province's Job Centre. Female workers are more vulnerable than men to exploitation and abuse when working overseas, heard a conference in Da Nang City. — VNA/VNS Photo Ho Cau

DA NANG (VNS) — Women migrant workers are more vulnerable than men to exploitation and abuse, especially domestic workers, said Deputy Minister of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs Nguyen Thanh Hoa.

At a two-day workshop on the issue, which ends today in the central city of Da Nang, it was reported that women account for an increasing number of migrant workers in Asia.

In Viet Nam, around 30-35 per cent of migrant workers are female.

Participants agreed with the deputy minister that women migrant workers needed legal recognition and protection, gender-responsive policy and more welfare and services.

They also agreed that labour export companies play an important role in protecting workers abroad because so many workers rely on them to make it overseas.

"Viet Nam attaches great importance to protecting the interests of labourers working abroad. The country has actively worked with receiving countries to protect migrant workers," Hoa said.

Many projects have been carried out with the aim of raising public awareness about gender equality, studying the situation of women workers abroad, reviewing related policies and organising gender-sensitive training programmes for migrant workers, he said.

Participants also talked about good practices in protecting women migrant workers and gender-responsive migration services in compliance with the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Covenant of Ethical Conduct and Good Practices of Overseas Employment Service Providers, a document in which recruitment agencies agree on across-the-board business standards to protect women migrant workers.

Through this covenant, recruitment service providers commit to provide adequate and accurate information to migrant workers and employers, provide social security and insurance programmes for migrant workers and establish supporting centers in destination countries.

At present, there are about 500,000 Vietnamese people working in more than 40 countries and territories around the world. An estimated 70,000-80,000 labourers go abroad to work each year.

The workshop aims to find ways to improve the situation of women migrant workers and promote ethical conduct on the part of recruitment agencies.

It was part of a regional initiative implemented by UN Women and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation in partnership with the Department of Overseas Labourers and the International Labour Organisation. — VNS

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