Framework: Prevention of Gender-Based Violence and Harassment Against Women Migrant Workers in South and Southeast Asia

November 2022
Number of pages:
UN Women

The number of estimated international migrants, in and from, Southeast Asia has been increasing over the past three decades with countries in the Asia-Pacific region comprising nearly 30% of international migrants, the vast majority (80%) of whom migrate within the region. Overall, women constitute nearly 50 per cent of migrants, though the figure is likely much higher when considering women who have migrated through irregular channels and therefore do not present in official statistics. Women migrant workers are important agents of social and economic change across households and economies. Despite the many positive contributions of women’s labour migration, the risks and experience of abuse are high, violating human rights and resulting in grave costs and consequences to women, their families, employers and the economy.

Gender-based violence and harassment against women migrant workers in South and Southeast Asia have been well-documented. On the other hand, preventative actions (those that stop abuse from happening in the first place or from reoccurring) that are more gender-transformative in nature and those tackle power inequalities and the discriminatory social norms that drive inequality between men and women and especially women migrant workers have been more limited, especially at scale.

This framework captures the risk factors for gender-based violence and harassment against women across the migration cycle and articulates strategies and stakeholder actions that can accelerate the prevention aims of the Safe and Fair: Realizing Women Migrant Workers’ Rights and Opportunities in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (SAF) and Governance of Labour Migration in South and South-East Asia (GOALS) programmes. This document is based on, and should be read in tandem with, the background paper Prevention of Gender-Based Violence and Harassment against Women Migrant Workers in South and Southeast Asia.

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