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Female migrants vulnerable to abuse

Dec 19, 2007 (DVB), Migrant women and girls continue to face discrimination in their host countries and are particularly at risk of abuse, according to a report launched today by the Burmese Women's Union.

The report, which was released to coincide with international migrants' day yesterday, is based on interviews with female migrants working in Thailand and China.

Entitled Caught Between Two Hells, the report highlights the double discrimination faced by women and girl workers due to their lack of legal status as well as their gender.

"This double marginalization means female migrant workers face grave security concerns as they regularly experience threats of sexual harassment and violence while working in host countries," BWU said in a press release.

BWU chairperson Mi Sue Pwint said that said that little had changed since the organisation's last report on migrant workers.

"BWU did a report on the situation of migrant workers in 2000. Now, seven years later, we are releasing another one because we don't think anything has improved since then," she said.

The report describes the experiences of women and girls working in "dirty, dangerous and demeaning" jobs with few rights and serious risk of abuse, with the aim of raising awareness of their situation and giving a voice to the women themselves.

"It is the BWU's hope that by writing about these brave migrant women and girl workers' sacrifices, hardships, perseverance, and their future hopes, their voices will be heard by others and advocates will work to ensure that migrant workers' human rights will be protected," the group said.

The report calls on the Burmese regime and governments of host countries to protect the rights of migrants in accordance with international human rights law and provide redress when those rights are violated.

Reporting by Maung Too and DVB


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