Manila, Philippines — A migrants' rights advocate yesterday raised her concerns over several issues confronting Asian foreign workers.
“Almost a third of the world’s migrants are Asian migrants,” said Ellene Sana, executive director of the Center for Migrant Advocacy, a group that promotes the rights of land– or sea–based Filipino migrant workers and immigrants, including their families.
These migrants, Sana said, leave their children, their families and country behind to work under a temporary–entry migration program where they are expected to return home when their labors are no longer needed.
Speaking before representatives of 163 United Nations member states during the report of the civil society meeting on the opening session of the 2nd Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), Sana stressed that this is a great concern because states have committed to provide decent work, decent wages, social protection, including the right to mobility and the right to stay.
Another issue that she highlighted was that Asian migration has a woman’s face because more than 50 percent of Asian migrants are women. “We are concerned because most of our women are concentrated in domestic work, which is not covered by labor and social laws of many countries, and as such, they are most vulnerable to abuses and exploitation,” Sana said.
According to Sana, Asian migration is also dominated by private recruitment agencies “who are more often than not, not properly and effectively regulated by the state.” These agencies thus become another party that exploits the migrants and their families.
“We are concerned in Asia, because the labor migration that is taking place is more of a consequence of our country's development program and policy that actually results in more social inequality and impoverishment of the Asian people,” said Sana. “It is a consequence of our country's inability to provide job opportunities for all,” she added.
Furthermore, while the causes of labor migration have yet to be addressed, efforts to protect and promote the human rights of migrants and their families will not be enough.