By MARIA ALETA O. NIEVA abs-cbnNEWS.com
A coalition against sexual exploitation that advocates women’s rights on Friday called on government to tackle protection for women migrant workers in the coming 2008 Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) in Manila.
“The Global Forum on Migration and Development [GFMD], the destination countries should really talk about the protection of the workers especially women workers in relation to trafficking at saka yung pantay na turing sa mga manggagawang pumupunta doon,” said Jean Enriquez of the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women-Asia Pacific (CATW-AP).
Governments from all over the world will meet October 27 to 30 for the 2nd GFMD with the theme “Protecting and Empowering Migrants for Development.”
The People’s Global Action on Migration, Development and Human Rights, where the CATW-AP is participating, urge government to “desist viewing migration principally in economic terms and as national development strategies, while pushing back the protection of migrant workers’ basic human rights and interest in the international migration agenda.”
Enriquez said CATW-AP is representing more than 300 organizations in the Asia-Pacific region. However, many of the destination countries found in the region is considered as problematic when it comes to the treatment of migrant workers.
Enriquez said women comprise about 72 to 74 percent of all overseas Filipino workers.
Despite claims by the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration [POEA] that the deployment of women workers decreased this year, many still managed to leave for work abroad as undocumented workers making them more vulnerable to abuses and miserable situations.
“Ang training sa mga kababaihan ay hindi mag-giit ng kanilang karapatan kaya mas vulnerable silang pagsamantalahan, dahilan sa mga mapang-aliping sitwasyon kagaya ng pagsasamantala o paggamit sa kanila bilang prostitutes,” Enriquez explained.
A lot of women are subjected to such situations where they end up being maltreated, rape victims or peddled as sex workers.
Enriquez admits that migration’s social costs are much difficult for women workers and the children they leave behind.
She said trafficking of Filipino women will persist if the government does not address the problem with the prostitution demand in countries like those in the Asia Pacific region.
“Ang aming panawagan ay tugunan ang batayang problema ng unemployment; tugunan din ang demand sa trafficking. Full employment dito hanggat maari magkaroon ng options na lokal na sustainable na trabaho, trabahong may dignidad. Ang migrants ay ‘di commodity at higit sa lahat ang migrants di kalakal,” she said.