Towards safer work and migration for women

New York Safe migration enables equitable, inclusive growth and human development for countries of origin and destination. It brings enormous benefits to economies and migrants and their families. Remittances to developing countries, which reached an estimated USD 406 billion in 2012, are three times the size of official development assistance and are expected to continue growing[1]. Around the world, a record number of women migrate to seek work and better lives.

But all too often, migration can carry dangerous risks, such as exploitation in domestic jobs, and vulnerability to violence. According to the new Secretary-General’s Report on Violence against women migrant workers, submitted to the 68th General Assembly, many women migrant workers face discrimination, violence and exploitation at all stages of migration. For example, Almaz*.

Like tens of thousands of young Ethiopian women who leave the rural countryside to work in homes across the Arab States and North Africa, Almaz saw migration as an escape from poverty.

“I went because I wanted to get an income and change my life,” says Almaz, a 30-year-old woman from Ethiopia’s northern Amhara region, recalling how she travelled to Saudi Arabia in 2012 as a domestic worker. Soon after arriving, she was forced to do work she was uncomfortable with, including caring for a sick and elderly relative of her employer. “I told them that I didn’t want to do it. When I refused, they didn’t give me food.”

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