A very beautiful but heavy jacket: The experiences of migrant workers with diverse sexual orientation, gender identity and expression in South-East Asia

Edge Effect, ILO and UN Women

Among the millions of migrant workers who move between countries in South-East Asia and beyond, little is known about the motivations and experiences of migrant workers who are also people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expression (SOGIE) including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer people. This report fills that gap. It draws on surveys and interviews with 147 migrant workers with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities and gender expressions, exploring their experiences across the migrant work journey as they travel from countries of origin such as Cambodia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Viet Nam to work in countries of destination in South-East Asia (especially Thailand), East Asia, and beyond. The report also explores how labour migration policies and practices can acknowledge or address these experiences while protecting and promoting the rights of migrant workers with diverse SOGIE.

This study was conducted as part of the Safe and Fair Programme: Realizing women migrant workers’ rights and opportunities in the ASEAN region (2018–2022). Safe and Fair is part of the multi-year EU-UN Spotlight Initiative to Eliminate Violence Against Women and Girls, funded by the European Union, and is implemented by ILO and UN Women in collaboration with UNODC. It delivers technical assistance and support with the overall objective of making labour migration safe and fair for all women in the ASEAN region.

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Bibliographic information

Geographic coverage: Asia and the Pacific
Publication year
Number of pages