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Interview with Pacita “Bing” Fortin, social worker at the Babaeng BiyaHero Psychosocial Support Team, Quezon City, The Philippines
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People tell me not to think about what happened. They say that it won’t help to think about it and that I should be strong and try to be happy like before. I know they mean well, but it will take some time before I can forget about the physical abuse I experienced when I was abroad. It will take some time before I can forget about having to sleep on a cold cement floor that caused my body to ache constantly. My employers beat me, and my body is covered in the evidence of that cruelty.
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After my husband and I separated, life was hard for me and my children, so I decided to go abroad to work. It was painful leaving my children, but I didn’t know how else to take care of them. I was a domestic worker in Dubai, for a Libyan family. It was a good job, and the family was good to me. Then one day the son in this family came home in the middle of the day, which was unusual. He was with a friend and no one else was home. I didn’t think much of it at first and went to tidy up, and...
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My journey started when a woman in my village connected me and several other women to a “recruitment agency” offering waitressing jobs in Malaysia. We were brought to Manila, to “process our paperwork”. Some of the women were actually minors, and when some of us didn't have money for the “processing fees”, the recruitment agency said that they would cover all of the expenses and that it would be deducted from our salary when we started to work in Malaysia. My younger sister was with me,...
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Ellen Elecanal spent almost her entire adult life taking care of other people's families, a long journey of adaptation in three foreign countries. Now she's finally back home looking after her own family--but still trying to adapt, this time to a place no longer familiar after being away a quarter century. Here in Iloilo province of central Philippines, Ms. Elecanal, 49 and single, tends the bakery shop she opened with her...
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Women migrant workers face particular challenges at the cross-section of several sectors: gender, migration, health, justice and others. To address this, ASEAN has initiated better coordination between its agencies responsible for women's rights, migrant workers and the protection of children, as well as disaster management. The aim is to improve the protection of women migrant workers' rights and their access to services, in particular in times of crisis...
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Four ASEAN sectoral bodies, overseeing women’s and children’s rights, migrant workers, and disaster management, met in Manila today for the first time to discuss the particular challenges facing women migrant workers in crisis situations. Women migrant workers are often the most vulnerable to crises, and have the least access to support services and tools...
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The law, signed by former President Benigno Aquino III in May, reformed the overseas Workers Welfare Administration and turned it into a government agency receiving funding from the government, instead of only...
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In the past two decades, an annual average of 172,000 Filipino women have left the country as migrant workers, in the quest for decent work and adequate income.
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Edna Valdez, 58, a former migrant domestic worker, is now the President of Bannuar Ti La Union, an organization that works for migrant women’s rights in the La Union province of Philippines. Having experienced the hardships of migration first-hand, Ms. Valdez conducts trainings in her community about migrant workers’ rights, risks of illegal recruitment and trafficking, and access to services.
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During a two-day Mission in the Philippines, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, addressed the Eminent Speakers’ Forum of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to promote gender equality and women’s rights within a regional context. ADB and UN Women will work together on a collaborative study announced during the Mission that will help Asia and the Pacific track its progress in realizing gender equality. It will prioritize...
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Over 60 delegates from nineteen countries of migrant origin and destination, 4 international organisations and 2 regional civil society organisations, at a Preparatory Workshop for the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) 2012, the world’s pre-eminent dialogue on international migration, pledged to make human rights a reality for the world’s migrant domestic care workers, the majority of whom are women.