The project “Safe & Fair: Realising women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region” (2018 – 2022) is part of the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to eliminate violence against women and girls.
Implemented by the ILO and UN Women, it will provide technical assistance so as to ensure safe and fair labour migration for all women in the region. It attracts the participation of government agencies of the 10 ASEAN member nations, namely Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The “Safe & Fair” project aims to achieve three inter-linking specific objectives: women migrant workers are better protected by gender-sensitive labour migration governance frameworks; women migrant workers are less vulnerable to violence and trafficking and benefit from coordinated responsive quality services; and data, knowledge and attitudes on the rights and contributions of women migrant workers are improved.
Opening the two-day dialogue, ILO Vietnam Director Chang-Hee Lee said in the ASEAN region, more and more women have been migrating. International labour migration in ASEAN has increased by some 10 million workers over the past decades, and nearly half of them are women.
The migration of women workers is an important aspect of the labour movement in the region and could be an important source for stronger women empowerment when women migrant workers make considerable contributions to the socio-economic development of the countries of origin and destination.
He noted during the migration process, women have to face the risks of violence and human trafficking while discrimination may hamper their access to fair recruitment and sustainable employment, they have also gained little protection or access to support services.
Women migrant workers’ positive experience and contributions can be fully ensured only when their safety, labour rights and human rights are fully protected, he added.
At the event, Head of UN Women Vietnam Elisa Fernandez said Vietnam is a country of origin, not a country of destination of labour migration. Therefore, it needs efforts at the national level to assist women to access information more effectively and eliminate violence against women, especially migrant women.
The country is one of the first nations to pilot the UN programme on essential services for women and girls subject to violence in order to help ensure safety for women migrant workers, she noted.