The Philippines is not the only country exerting efforts to protect its migrant workers against abusive hiring practices. In a conference last week, other Southeast Asian nations shared their own methods of keeping their overseas workers—especially the women, who are more prone to abuses—safe.
Hosted by the Philippine Commission on Women (PCW) last November 13, ASEAN-member countries spoke of ratifying more human rights conventions by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) and International Labor Organization (ILO) during the ASEAN Regional Conference of Senior Officials on Strengthening the Protection and Empowerment of Women Migrant Workers.
Part of the conference tackled the accountability of recruitment agencies and accessibility of complaints mechanism for domestic workers, particularly women workers.
Ethical recruitment, complaints mechanism
Forced labor and human trafficking are shared problems within ASEAN nations, and while labor destination countries refuse to discuss such events, labor-sending countries continue to improve mechanisms to hold recruitment agencies accountable for their actions.
Indonesia’s Law No. 3 of 2004 on the Elimination of Domestic Violence and Child Protection Act No. 23 of 2002, are both fine examples as they protect the victims’ names and addresses, and offer psychosocial services. The victims may also be housed in halfway houses for 10 days or more, depending on their condition.
Vietnam and its monitoring and evaluation system found a number of recruitment agencies that did not fully contribute to its Fund for Overseas Employment Support and collected fees higher than prescribed rates.
Administrative fines and suspensions were handed out to these recruitment agencies, who were judged according to self-evaluations and information from various groups.
Meanwhile, Cambodia’s Migrant Resource Center in Phnom Penh established a complaints desk to allow domestic helpers to report possible abuses. As of September, it has processed a total of 625 cases, 236 of which involved women.