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 Women, children from the Philippines, Indonesia still victim

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PostSubject: Women, children from the Philippines, Indonesia still victim   Thu Jan 05, 2012 11:41 am

By Jerry E. Esplanada
Philippine Daily Inquirer
12:04 pm | Monday, January 2nd, 2012

MANILA, Philippines–An undisclosed number of women and children from the Philippines and Indonesia continue to be trafficked into forced commercial sex in countries like China, Hong Kong, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Australia, according to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

In a report, the United Nations-attached agency described as “high” cases of forced labor among domestic workers trafficked from these countries to Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong.

“In Japan and Australia, women (from the Asia-Pacific region) have entered these countries legally under entertainment visas in the expectation of working in dance clubs, only to be forced into providing sexual services,” said the ILO, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

It noted that the “root causes of trafficking and irregular migration (of women and children from the region) include poverty, indebtedness and limited educational and employment opportunities in their rural communities of origin, social exclusion and the lure of the big cities.”

According to the ILO, women and children from the Philippines and Indonesia are among an estimated 9.5 million victims of forced labor in the Asia-Pacific region, representing over three-fourths of the global total of 12.3 million people.

“Forced commercial sex exploitation makes up less than 10 percent of the total while about 20 percent of forced labor, affecting approximately 1.9 million people, is state-imposed and concentrated in a few countries,” said the agency.

New forms of coercion
The ILO also reported that “domestic workers in the region are facing new forms of coercion.”
“Sometimes, an initially freely-chosen job later becomes an exploitative trap while in other cases, women and girls are trafficked into forced domestic service overseas. Forced labor situations can develop when workers are confined to the employer’s home, subjected to physical, verbal or sexual abuse, and their freedom to leave the job is denied, particularly when passports and other identity documents are confiscated,” the agency explained.
The ILO pointed out that “in Asian countries, domestic workers are not recognized as workers and deprived of labor rights.”
“To remedy this situation, both the Philippines and Indonesia have filed bills that provide for a minimum wage for domestic workers and for working hours and benefits similar to those for workers in other sectors,” it said.
The agency said it was “helping Indonesia and the Philippines strengthen the outreach of domestic workers’ organizations and creating linkages with groups of migrant workers in the neighboring destinations of Malaysia and Hong Kong.”
In the same report, the ILO said some migrant workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and Sri Lanka “have died in unclear circumstances while others have been subjected to severe punishments in several Middle Eastern countries.”
“In Hong Kong and Singapore, several cases of severe ill treatment of migrant domestic workers by employers have been prosecuted since 2000,” it added.

Work deficits

In another report, the ILO said its primary goal is to “promote opportunities for women and men to obtain decent and productive work in conditions of freedom, equity, security, and human dignity.”

However, it pointed out “the world today is facing a number of decent work “deficits.”
“These come in the form of unemployment and underemployment, poor quality and unproductive jobs, unsafe work and insecure income, rights that are denied, and gender inequality. Many migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, lack of representation and voice and have
inadequate protection from income loss during sickness, disability and old age,” said the agency.
According to the ILO, here are some of the indicators of decent work deficits:
- Labor migration is on the rise. There are more than 86 million migrant workers worldwide, 34 million of whom come from developing countries.

- There are over 85 million unemployed youth around the world, comprising nearly half of the world’s unemployment rate although this age group makes up only 25 percent of the working age population.

- Half of the world’s workers are unable to life themselves and their families above the $2 (about P88) per day per person poverty line.

Much of the world has a significant gender gap in both quantity and quality of employment. Women are more likely than men to work in the informal economy with little or no social protection and a high degree of insecurity.

But the ILO expressed confidence that “putting the Decent Work Agenda into practice can be achieved through the implementation of four strategic objectives with gender equality as a cross-cutting objective.”

It referred to “creating jobs, guaranteeing rights at work, extending social protection, and promoting dialogue and conflict resolution.”

“The overall goal of Decent Work is to effect positive change in people’s lives at the national and local levels,” the agency stressed, adding the agency “provides support through integrated decent work country programs developed in coordination with ILO constituents.”
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