The Exploitation of Undocumented Migrant Women in the Workplace
[15/03/2010] [EU-wide] [Report] [English]
Posted by : Katy Kefferputz, Migration Policy Group
Authors : PICUM - Platform for International Co-operation on Undocumented Migrants
Despite the many positive experiences of female migration, significantly fewer paths are available for women to legally migrate for employment and as a result, migrant women may find themselves trapped in exploitative and coercive conditions. Once in an irregular situation, migrant women are dramatically overrepresented in gender-defined jobs with precarious working conditions, low pay and exposure to violence.
Susceptible to heightened gender-based segregation in the workplace, undocumented migrant women are often employed in individualised or isolated work environments such as the agricultural sector, domestic sphere, food processing, cleaning and catering industries where there are fewer opportunities for worker solidarity and visibility.
Organised by PICUM and the United Methodist Women Immigrant/Civil Rights Initiative, this workshop provided for valuable networking and information sharing between migrant women and their advocates. Adopting a global perspective, this workshop aimed to explore the specific vulnerabilities facing undocumented women in the labour market and enable participants to share and discover solutions which have successfully served to protect and empower undocumented female workers.
Thirty participants from 17 countries came together to discuss key concerns within different global regions and highlight good practice examples whereby undocumented women obtained their rights in the workplace. This discussion sought to explore the role of the unions, social networks, solidarity movements and undocumented women themselves in addressing labour-based exploitation and empowering female workers with an irregular status.
This report provides an overview of the contributions of the speakers as well as the main themes of discussion from this workshop session.