Press Release: Regional Workshop on protection of Women Migrant Workers and Ethical Conduct of Recruitment Agencies

Date: Friday, October 25, 2013

With the support of the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation, the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MOLISA), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the International Labour Organization (ILO), in collaboration with the Viet Nam Manpower Association (VAMAS) organizes a Regional Workshop on protection of women migrant workers and ethical conduct of recruitment agencies in Da Nang City, Viet Nam on 24-25 October 2013.


The meeting view. UN Women/Siriporn Laosang

The workshop has the participation of delegates from different countries including Mr. Nguyen Thanh Hoa – Deputy Minister of MOLISA Vietnam, Mr. Ramanathan Balakrishnan - Deputy Regional Director of UN Women, Regional Office for Asia and Pacific, Ms. Shoko Ishikawa - Country Representative of UN Women Viet Nam Country Office, Mr. Nguyen Luong Trao – President of VAMAS, and representatives from ILO, IOM, the associations of  recruitment agencies of Cambodia, Lao PDR, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Viet Nam and representatives from government agencies of Korea, the Union of Myanmar, the Philippines as well as several other representatives from state agencies, the civil society organizations of the country including those from Da Nang city.

The objectives of the workshop are to facilitate the exchange of good practices in protecting women migrant workers, gender-responsive migration services in compliance with the Convention to Eliminate All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and the Covenant of Ethical Conduct and Good Practices of Overseas Employment Service Providers; and to recommend cooperation at national and regional levels.

The Covenant of Ethical Conduct and Good Practices of Overseas Employment Service Providers is a document in which recruitment agencies agreed on across-the-board business standards geared towards protecting women migrant workers, and was adopted by overseas employment service providers and their associations in eight Asian countries (including Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia, Jordan, Lao PDR, Nepal, Philippines, and Sri Lanka) at the Regional Consultation Conference on Good Practices of Overseas Employment Service Providers in Protecting Women Migrant Workers which was held by UN Women on 15th November 2005 in Bangkok, Thailand. Through this covenant, recruitment service providers committed 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 this regional workshop, there will be discussions among recruitment agencies of sending and receiving countries on the implementation of the Covenant, the proposals and good practices to promote better understanding and implementation of policies and gender responsive overseas employment services; and identification of needs for national and regional cooperation to implement the Covenant.

Women have been accounting for an increasing proportion in total number of migrant workers in Asia, and Viet Nam is also on this common trend, with the proportion of women labour in total of around 30-35%. With  gender typical features, women migrant workers are more vulnerable than men to exploitation and abuse, especially those who work in typical sectors like domestic workers . The domestic work requires legal recognition and protection, gender-responsive policy development and implementation as well as provision of welfare and services.  Besides, women's knowledge on savings and remittance management and the resolvement of related family issues while they are working abroad are also important issues.

Since 2009, Department of Overseas Labour under Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs has been cooperating with UN Women in Viet Nam in implementing a series of activities in the framework of the project "Empowering Women Migrant Workers" with the aim of increasing women's awareness on their legal rights and benefits of working abroad so that they know how to protect themselves. With satisfactorily achieved results, after completing this project, the two partners agreed upon  the decision to continue coordinating in the project "Increasing capability to conduct, evaluate and supervise the implementation  of the national strategy and programme on gender equality" cooperated between MOLISA and UN Women.

This workshop is a component of a regional initiative implemented by UN Women and funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation. In partnership with DOLAB and ILO, this workshop will further strengthen national and regional stakeholders in protecting women migrant workers, through increasing of service quality of overseas employment service providers in the Asia – Pacific region.