16 September 1996
Item 105 of the provisional agenda*
ADVANCEMENT OF WOMEN
Violence against women migrant workers
Report of the Secretary-General
I. INTRODUCTION ......................................... 1 - 4 3
II. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE EXPERT
GROUP MEETING ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN MIGRANT
WORKERS .............................................. 5 - 7 3
III. ACTIONS TAKEN BY ORGANIZATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
SYSTEM ON THE SITUATION OF WOMEN MIGRANT WORKERS ..... 8 - 15 4
A. Commission on the Status of Women ................ 9 5
B. Commission on Human Rights ....................... 10 - 11 5
C. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal
Justice .......................................... 12 - 15 6
IV. COMMENTS PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENTS ..................... 16 - 27 7
A. National legislation of receiving countries:
preventive and protective measures ............... 19 - 20 7
B. National legislation of sending countries:
preventive and protective measures ............... 21 - 22 8
C. Recommendations and suggestions .................. 23 - 27 8
Annex. Conclusions and recommendations adopted by the expert group
meeting on violence against women migrant workers .............. 10
1. In resolution 50/168 on violence against women migrant workers, the
General Assembly made a number of recommendations for action and requested the
Secretary-General to convene a meeting of an expert group, with the
participation of the Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on
violence against women and under the regular programme of the Division for the
Advancement of Women of the Secretariat, for the purpose of drawing up
recommendations for improving coordination among United Nations agencies on
the issue of violence against women migrant workers and developing concrete
indicators as a basis for determining the situation of women migrant workers,
for submission through normal channels to the General Assembly at its fifty-
2. As requested, the Secretary-General convened an expert group meeting on
violence against women migrant workers. The meeting was held in Manila from
27 to 31 May 1996 at the invitation of the Government of the Philippines, and
was attended by experts and observers from a number of sending and receiving
countries, intergovernmental organizations, organizations of the United
Nations system and non-governmental organizations. The Special Rapporteur was
unable to attend the meeting due to previous commitments related to her
mandate but sent a message that was taken into account by the meeting.
3. As requested in operative paragraph 8 of the above-mentioned resolution,
the conclusions and recommendations of the expert group meeting were submitted
to the Economic and Social Council (E/1996/71, annex) as a normal channel; the
Council took note of the report.
4. The conclusions and recommendations adopted by the expert group meeting
are contained in the annex to the present report. In order to assist the
Assembly in considering the recommendations, the Secretary-General wishes to
call its attention to his previous reports to the Assembly at its forty-ninth
(A/49/354) and fiftieth (A/50/378) sessions. In addition, in order to provide
a wider basis for consideration the present report includes information
provided by the 20 Member States who had responded by 26 August 1996 to the
Secretary-General's note verbale requesting information on the implementation
of Assembly resolution 50/168, 1/ as well as a review of action taken by a
number of United Nations bodies 2/ over the past year. The attention of the
General Assembly is also drawn to the report of the Secretary-General on
trafficking in women and girls (A/51/309).
II. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ADOPTED BY THE EXPERT GROUP
MEETING ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN MIGRANT WORKERS
5. The conclusions and recommendations of the expert group meeting on
violence against women migrant workers (see annex) are presented for the
consideration of the General Assembly as they were adopted, with reservations
as expressed reflected in the notes to the annex to this report. As
requested, the meeting concentrated its attention on the two issues specified
by the Assembly in its resolution 50/168: (a) indicators and (b) improving
coordination among organizations of the United Nations system with respect to
6. The expert group meeting made extensive recommendations on the types of
indicators that might be used. The Secretary-General draws the attention of
the Assembly to the fact that the indicators cover both the issue of violence
against women and the issue of tracking international migration conditions.
At present, there are no internationally agreed indicators for violence
against women, and the work of the expert group meeting could be considered a
starting point for work on such indicators. The expert group meeting has
recommended that the United Nations facilitate the development of standardized
procedures for the data collection recommended, and that it encourage all
sending and receiving countries to collect and share such data. Given the
current extent of knowledge of the situation of violence against women migrant
workers, the expert group recommended that the appropriate United Nations
body/entity undertake as soon as possible a series of studies in selected
sending and receiving countries with the objectives of (a) obtaining valid
basic data on the extent and nature of violence against women migrant workers,
and (b) obtaining an in-depth understanding of the impact of violence on women
migrant workers, their families and their communities.
7. The expert group meeting also made a number of recommendations on
coordination at the level of the United Nations system, which mainly involve
integrating the issue of violence against women migrant workers into existing
mechanisms and programmes. To the extent that such mechanisms or programmes
are seized of the issue, such integration can be achieved, but further
consideration will be required. The expert group meeting recommended that the
Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) serve as the focal point within
the United Nations system responsible for effectively coordinating initiatives
concerning violence against women migrant workers. In that capacity, ACC, its
task forces and the Inter-Agency Committee on Women should examine the
mandates and policies of agencies and bodies of the United Nations to identify
where their work could be enhanced concerning violence against women migrant
workers. In addition, ACC should undertake a comprehensive review of the
effectiveness of existing policies on migration, women and violence against
women in order to identify the gaps in fully addressing issues related to
violence against women migrant workers. The Secretary-General will bring
those recommendations to the attention of the appropriate bodies of ACC.
III. ACTIONS TAKEN BY ORGANIZATIONS OF THE UNITED NATIONS
SYSTEM ON THE SITUATION OF WOMEN MIGRANT WORKERS
8. During the year since the Assembly took up the issue of women migrant
workers, a number of intergovernmental bodies and organizations of the United
Nations system have undertaken further work on the subject.
A. Commission on the Status of Women
9. At its fortieth session, the Commission on the Status of Women adopted
resolution 40/6 on violence against women migrant workers. In addition to
reiterating operative paragraphs from General Assembly resolution 50/168, the
Commission invited States concerned, specifically those sending and receiving
women migrant workers, to conduct regular consultations for the purpose of
identifying problem areas in promoting and protecting the rights of women
migrant workers and ensuring health, legal and social services for them; to
adopt specific measures to address those problems, setting up, as appropriate,
linguistically and culturally accessible services and mechanisms to implement
such measures; and in general to create conditions that foster greater harmony
and tolerance between women migrant workers and the rest of the society in
which they reside. The Commission further encouraged States Members of the
United Nations, particularly those from which women migrant workers originate
and those that play host to them, to ensure the protection of the rights and
fundamental freedoms of women migrant workers, as defined by international
conventions and agreements and taking into account the outcome of recent
international conferences. It recognized the vulnerability to violence and
other forms of abuse of women migrants, including women migrant workers whose
legal status in the host country depends on the employers who may exploit
their situation. Finally, the Commission called upon States to explore the
possibility of adopting measures to prevent the victimization of women migrant
workers by sexual traffickers and to penalize such traffickers, including the
ratification of the Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons
and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others. 3/
B. Commission on Human Rights
10. As recommended in General Assembly resolution 50/168, the Commission on
Human Rights, at its fifty-second session, dealt with the issue of violence
against women migrant workers and adopted resolution 1996/17, in which, in
addition to reaffirming operative paragraphs from the General Assembly
resolution, the Commission welcomed the scheduling of the expert group meeting
on violence against women migrant workers; invited the Special Rapporteur on
violence against women to continue to include among the urgent issues
pertaining to her mandate the violence perpetrated against women migrant
workers; and decided to continue to consider the question at its fifty-third
11. The Working Group on Contemporary Forms of Slavery of the Subcommission
on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities considered the
issue at its twenty-first session, in July 1996, and adopted recommendation
21/9 on migrant workers, in which it noted that foreign migrant workers are
frequently subject to discriminatory rules and regulations that undermine
human dignity, such as by forcing them to live separately from their spouses
and minor children, sometimes for extended periods, and are often victims of
violence, racism and xenophobia. The Working Group also noted cases of
migrant domestic workers who are unpaid, subject to various abuses and
deprived of all their rights. It urged States to ratify the International
Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members
of Their Families, 4/ and to take necessary measures to sanction employers for
the confiscation of passports belonging to migrant workers, in particular
migrant domestic workers. The Working Group recommended that non-governmental
organizations give attention to the grave problems affecting migrant workers
and provide the Working Group with relevant information. Finally, it
recommended to the Subcommission that it examine the issue at its forty-eighth
C. Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice
12. The Secretary-General submitted to the Commission on Crime Prevention and
Criminal Justice, at its fifth session, a report on a draft plan of action on
the elimination of violence against women, including the observation and
comments of Governments thereon (E/CN.15/1996/11 and Corr.1); by extension,
the plan of action covers women migrant workers. The plan of action was
revised by the Commission during its session and is now entitled "Practical
measures, strategies and activities in the field of crime prevention and
criminal justice for the elimination of violence against women"
13. During the discussion by the Commission, it was emphasized that violence
against women occurs in all spheres of private and public life, and that such
violence has reached alarming proportions. The vulnerability of women in
conflict situations was stressed. The matter can only be remedied by making
achievements in gender equality and making other improvements in the status of
women; no State can claim to have done all that it can in that regard. It is
of vital importance in situations of violence against women to break the cycle
of violence and ensure that the use of violence against women does not become
a learned behaviour and that victims are able to escape the violent
environment. As for measures to eliminate violence against women, it is
essential to enact legislation that would make it a criminal offence to
perpetrate violence against women in any form and would punish the
perpetrators of such violence. Other important measures in that area include
providing specialized training for practitioners; establishing centres for
assistance and advice; assisting victims by facilitating their access to
justice and recovery from the victimizing event; and working with the media to
avoid gender stereotyping. There is a need for measures to assist
particularly vulnerable groups of women, including women migrant workers.
14. It was noted that the measures outlined in the above-mentioned report of
the Secretary-General pursue the goals of the Beijing Declaration and Platform
for Action (A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, resolution 1, annexes I and II) adopted by
the Fourth World Conference on Women. They implement and build upon the
Platform's strategic objectives D.1-D.3 on the elimination of violence against
women, and strategic objectives L.1-L.9 on discrimination against the girl
child, which fall squarely within the purview of the work of the Commission on
Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (see E/1996/30, paras. 50 and 51).
15. In its draft resolution III, the Commission recommended to the Economic
and Social Council, inter alia, that it urge Member States to adopt a number
of measures for the elimination of violence against women, and request the
Secretary-General to seek the views of Member States and others on the draft
practical measures and strategies referred to above, for submission to the
Commission at its sixth session. The resolution was adopted by the Council as
its resolution 1996/12.
IV. COMMENTS PROVIDED BY GOVERNMENTS
16. The replies of the 20 Member States who responded to the Secretary-
General's request for information are analysed below in terms of their
implications for policy decision-making by the Assembly. The analysis
highlights the main trends in the approach of the responding States in dealing
with the issue of violence against migrant women workers.
17. Most replies considered that workers' human rights should be protected
regardless of their residential status, and indicated that Governments have
established national legislation to that end. Such legislation often does not
make a distinction between men and women, and includes both preventive and
protective measures. In addition, several countries stressed that they do not
make a distinction between legal and illegal migrant workers where human
rights are concerned. Hence, when a worker is ill-treated by her or his
employer, whether she or he is a citizen or migrant of the said country, her
or his rights are legally protected under existing legislation.
18. The replies suggest, however, that there is wide acceptance that the
issue of violence against female migrant workers needs to be placed on the
global agenda. First, it is recognized that the majority of migrant workers
are women. Second, a considerable number of migrant workers are involved in
vulnerable sectors of labour markets, such as domestic service and
entertainment. Third, domestic service, the most popular form of employment
for female migrant workers, exposes women to the risk of violence in the
A. National legislation of receiving countries: preventive
and protective measures
19. Most countries that are net recipients of migrant workers reported that
there exist well established and effective national regulations, and that
employers who ill-treat their employees are punished accordingly. Such
regulations may form a part of the constitution, civic code, employment act,
labour law, criminal law, women's charter and/or penal code. In many
countries, incidents of violence are treated as cases of human rights
violation. Some receiving countries also noted their screening mechanism,
which controls the flow of migrants as well as providing a regular checking
system on employers. A few countries have organized advocacy activities to
increase public awareness of human rights issues, and in some countries, the
Government has conducted special training of police force and immigration
officials in order to increase the effectiveness of existing legislation.
Many receiving countries reported that such measures are satisfactorily
preventing violence against female migrant workers.
20. If, however, an act of violence is committed, many receiving countries
have set up a response mechanism through which victims are given official
assistance. Some Governments have conducted surveys in order to prepare
appropriate victim- support mechanisms. Protection provided to victims can
include temporary housing; counselling; free legal advice, with or without
interpreters; and repatriation support.
B. National legislation of sending countries: preventive
and protective measures
21. Although they express their concern at the welfare of their nationals
working abroad, some sending countries also noted the difficulties involved in
monitoring their movements once workers have left their country of origin.
Some countries reported that they screen workers leaving for another country
as well as agencies or brokers who recruit workers. Public awareness
activities have been organized in a few countries to inform potential migrant
workers of the possible risks that they may be taking. A few Governments
have set up coordinated networks with their national agencies abroad (e.g.,
consulates and embassies) to monitor the welfare of their nationals. Such
networks also provide assistance to victims of violence.
22. Upon their return to their own countries, victims can be given assistance
for rehabilitation through networks of government and non-governmental
organizations. In addition, several sending countries reported on efforts to
establish coordination arrangements with other countries for preventing
violence against female migrant workers or providing protection.
C. Recommendations and suggestions
23. In their replies, some Governments have provided recommendations for
dealing with the issue of violence against women migrant workers that should
be taken into account together with those made by the expert group meeting on
violence against women migrant workers; they are summarized below.
24. A number of countries have conducted a survey to review the situation of
migrant workers in order to establish more appropriate measures for protecting
their rights. Many countries that have not yet done so are nevertheless
planning to conduct such surveys to improve the living and working condition
of migrant workers. Several countries, however, have recognized that
documented cases of violence and abuse against women workers usually
understate the forms and levels of violence and abuse that they have actually
experienced. In addition, many women workers tend not to report such cases,
thus making it difficult for Governments to obtain realistic data.
25. Many countries expressed their willingness to tackle the problem in
coordination with the United Nations. Most of the responding Governments have
signed more than one international convention dealing with migration, violence
and/or women's rights, and have implemented them in their constitutions. In
addition, a few countries pointed to the limited influence that a single
Government can exert and emphasized that international coordination is
26. Several countries also welcomed the introduction of coordinated measures
between receiving and sending countries. However, they noted that it would
not be an easy matter to decide, for example, whether or not a Government
should have criminal jurisdiction over foreign sex offenders.
27. A few countries felt strongly that the welfare of migrant workers is
better addressed within the legal and administrative framework of the
receiving country, a view derived from the assumption that people move because
of the poverty in their own county. On the other hand, the responsibility of
sending countries to educate their citizens before leaving the country was
1/ Australia, Bahrain, Belgium, Cuba, Cyprus, Finland, Germany, Greece,
Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Mexico, Morocco, Philippines, Singapore,
Spain, Turkey, Uganda and the United States of America.
2/ Including the Centre for Human Rights of the United Nations
Secretariat, the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the
International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women,
the United Nations Population Fund and the International Labour Organization.
3/ General Assembly resolution 317 (IV).
4/ General Assembly resolution 45/158, annex.
Conclusions and recommendations adopted by the expert group
meeting on violence against women migrant workers
I. PREAMBLE ............................................. 1 - 4 11
II. KEY ISSUES ........................................... 5 - 42 11
A. Migration patterns and trends .................... 5 - 6 11
B. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence
against women .................................... 7 12
C. Dynamics of violence against women migrant workers 8 - 12 12
D. Impact of migration on employment ................ 13 13
E. Abuses faced by women migrant workers ............ 14 - 22 13
F. Policies and mechanisms to address violence
against women migrant workers .................... 23 - 31 14
G. Collaborative efforts ............................ 32 - 35 15
H. Indicators and statistical data collection ....... 36 - 38 16
I. Empowerment strategies ........................... 39 16
J. Role of non-governmental organizations ........... 40 17
K. Statements of observers .......................... 41 - 42 17
III. RECOMMENDATIONS ...................................... 43 - 77 17
A. Indicators of violence ........................... 44 18
B. Indicators of vulnerability ...................... 45 19
C. Data on the general characteristics of women
migrant workers .................................. 46 20
D. Methods of data collection ....................... 47 21
E. Other recommendations ............................ 48 - 49 22
F. Measures to improve the coordination efforts of
the United Nations system on violence against
women migrant workers ............................ 50 - 77 22
1. Violence against women migrant workers is a serious, complex and
sensitive issue. The plight of women migrant workers who become victims of
physical, mental and sexual harassment and abuse at the hands of their
employers, their intermediaries, or the police - a situation exacerbated by
economic exploitation - is one that calls for concerted action at the
international, national and regional levels.
2. Discussions at the Expert Group Meeting reflected the diversity of
experiences and perspectives among sending and receiving countries. Such
diversity illustrates the different conditions prevailing in different
countries and the varied approaches that have been adopted in response to the
3. Recognition of the increasing numbers of migrant women workers who are
subjected to exploitation has grown over the past few years. Despite the
growing attention and the creation of specific norms, procedures and
institutions to protect migrant workers, serious gaps remain.
4. A major constraint to dealing with the issue has been the lack of
adequate information, not only about the prevalence of violence but also about
its extent and magnitude. Therefore, in dealing with the issue of violence
against women migrant workers, there is a tendency to focus on a limited
number of reported cases.
II. KEY ISSUES
A. Migration patterns and trends
5. The Meeting noted that a sharp acceleration in labour flows in the past
decade had been accompanied by an increasing feminization of labour. The
growing share of women migrating for employment had been concentrated in two
unprotected sectors of the international labour market: those of domestic
helpers and entertainers. The global demand for those gender-segregated jobs
reflected the gender division of labour operative in most countries. At the
same time, the number of women migrating through illegal, undocumented and
clandestine channels had increased.
6. There was little doubt that, as a result of structural and demographic
changes within the labour-receiving countries, the demand for overseas workers
in what had been identified as "vulnerable categories" was expected to
increase. That was owing to global restructuring, an expansion of the
services sector, a rising female labour-force participation rate, and an
ageing of the population in the receiving countries. On the other hand, the
supply of workers from sending countries was almost unlimited. Among the
causes were unemployment, large wage differentials between countries, and a
web of social networks that encouraged and facilitated placement.
B. Report of the Special Rapporteur on violence against women
7. The Expert Group Meeting welcomed and acknowledged the message of the
Special Rapporteur of the Commission on Human Rights on violence against
women, Ms. Radhika Coomaraswamy. The Meeting fully endorsed the message of
the Special Rapporteur, which articulated that violence against women was a
fundamental issue of women's human rights. In addition, the Meeting endorsed
the Special Rapporteur's statement that an analysis of the human rights of
women migrant workers was essential in order to hold States accountable for
the protection of their human rights.
C. Dynamics of violence against women migrant workers
8. The Meeting affirmed that women's rights were human rights, as had been
reflected and affirmed in many United Nations human rights instruments and
documents. The Vienna Declaration, a/ the Beijing Platform for Action, b/ the
Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women c/
and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women d/ were
critical documents in enabling the international community to redefine and
expand the conceptual analysis of universally recognized rights and to make
visible the violations to which women, including women migrant workers, were
9. The Expert Group reaffirmed General Assembly resolution 50/168 on
violence against women migrant workers, recognizing the obligations of both
sending and receiving countries to protect and promote the interests and human
rights of women migrant workers. The Meeting further took note of the
relevance of the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women d/
and General Recommendation No. 19 of the Committee on the Elimination of
Discrimination against Women, on violence against women, to an understanding
of the analysis of the issue at hand. It adopted the Declaration's definition
of violence against women as "any act of gender-based violence that results
in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or psychological harm or
suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary
deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or in private life". d/
The Group agreed that economic exploitation can be a form of violence.
10. Violence against women migrant workers should also be viewed from the
wider context of gender-based violence. Violence against women migrant
workers was part of the problem of violence perpetrated against women in
general. The problem concerned both sending and receiving countries.
11. It was necessary to view the vulnerabilities of migrant women workers in
the context of globalization and unequal economic and political relations
between labour-importing and labour-exporting countries, and of competition
among labour-exporting countries.
12. It was noted that processes of migration were fuelled by extensive
business interests involved in recruitment and placement and the financing of
migration for employment. That had led to a continuing debt burden on
individual migrant women workers and their families. In certain cases,
commercial interests had overlapped with criminal elements involved in the
trafficking and forced prostitution of women.
D. Impact of migration on employment
13. The Expert Group Meeting agreed that there were benefits and social
costs involved in migration for employment at the levels of the individual,
family, and community in both sending and receiving countries. To the extent
that sending and receiving Governments perceived, benefits arising from - and
therefore facilitated - the movements of women migrant workers, and
acknowledge that such movements also carried a personal and social cost, it
was imperative that such women be afforded the highest possible level of
E. Abuses faced by women migrant workers
14. The Group agreed that the nature of the abuse faced by women migrant
workers took both physical and non-physical forms. Women migrant workers
experienced social, psychological, physical and sexual abuse at different
stages of the migration process, from their recruitment, preparation, working
abroad and return.
15. Long working hours, deceptive contractual arrangements, contract
alterations and substitutions, the exploitative role of some intermediaries
and lack of avenues for redress of grievances had been commonly reported. The
lack of social contacts and support systems and the deprivation of family life
posed a severe psychological toll on the women migrant workers. Physical and
sexual abuse might range from verbal abuse to severe maltreatment, battering,
rape and forced abortion. Economic exploitation had exacerbated the
vulnerability of women migrant workers to abuse.
16. The Expert Group also identified the traumatic experiences of women
migrant workers caught in situations of armed conflict and/or political and
social turbulence in countries of destination. Set aside by employers, many
women workers had suffered from rape, abuse and hardship in their attempts to
secure their safety. Their premature return to their home countries was
difficult because they faced the burden of huge debts and, in some cases,
17. The vulnerability of women migrant workers was intrinsically tied to
their legal status. A migrant with an undocumented status was especially
vulnerable. Typically, vulnerability arose from the asymmetry of the status of
the employers and employees, which also entailed a relationship of dependency
on the part of the employees towards their employers and their agents.
18. The vulnerability of domestic helpers was due not only to their migrant
status but also to the fact that the occupations in which they were
concentrated were not normally covered by the labour codes or social security
provisions of host countries.
19. The nature of the relevant sectors, such as domestic service and
entertainment, made the enforcement of legislation, especially that applying
to female migrant workers, truly difficult. Prostitution subjected female
migrants to harassment, raids and deportation.
20. Cross-cultural and language differences hindered understanding and often
resulted in miscommunication between employers and the migrant women workers.
Such misunderstanding could instigate physical and verbal abuse.
21. The Expert Group expressed concern over the conditions of irregular and
undocumented women workers. The large flows of such workers were indicative
of extensive trafficking networks within and between countries. Trafficking
had placed the women migrants in very precarious employment situations,
rendering them completely dependent on their employers and/or recruiters.
That had resulted in substandard wages and exploitative terms and conditions
of work. While both sending and receiving countries may have enacted laws to
deal with the problem, many of them had proved ineffective. The Expert Group
also noted that one of the ironies of restrictive immigration and emigration
policies was their tendency to push women into illegal and unsupervised
channels of migration and employment.
22. Violence against women migrant workers had both short-term and long-term
effects on the individual woman, her family and her society. It not only
caused damage to the physical and mental health of the victims but also left
long-term psychological effects. It also exacted a toll on a country's image
and esteem and eroded people's confidence in their Government's capacity to
provide a decent life for its citizens and to protect them.
F. Policies and mechanisms to address violence against
women migrant workers
23. The Meeting agreed that a single blanket approach to a complex set of
problems may not benefit all parties concerned. It was necessary to take a
differentiated approach to the delicate issue at hand.
24. Labour-sending countries needed to develop a comprehensive framework
that would lead to the maximization of the development benefits of migration
to the individual migrant and to the country, while minimizing its adverse
25. Policies that would expand the national productive capacity to absorb
potential and returning women migrant workers into the domestic economy were
equally important. Such policy initiatives would reduce the pressure to
emigrate on women migrant workers, thus affording them better protection in
the long term.
26. Although several sending countries had extensive rules for regulating
the work of private recruitment agents, many loopholes and violations existed.
Restrictions such as a ban on the emigration of domestic helpers and minimum
age requirements had proved ineffective.
27. Sending Governments needed to be more proactive in demanding rights for
their migrant workers. Often, the issue of violence against women migrant
workers was marginalized in the face of broader socio-political and economic
relations between sending and receiving countries.
28. Sending States should provide orientation programmes to prepare
potential women migrant workers for their future sojourn in receiving States.
The envisaged preparation would include information about laws, the rights of
migrant workers, culture, and working and living conditions in receiving
countries. To prevent physical and sexual abuse, the prospective workers must
be thoroughly informed of the dangers inherent in domestic work and should be
trained in effective ways of responding to and removing themselves from
abusive situations. Such information would include mechanisms for support
services - e.g., shelters, mediation, and non-governmental organizations.
29. In the view of the Expert Group an important receiving country issue was
the existence of immigration laws inimical to women migrant workers, such as
deportation without recourse. Many of the countries that currently tacitly
approved illegal migration to meet labour shortages needed to ensure that real
demand for imported labour was met through legal channels which afforded
protection to the migrants and recognized their genuine rights.
30. Where they did not exist, laws that ensured the protection of women
migrant workers should be enacted by receiving countries.
31. In recognition of the contribution of women migrant workers, the
receiving States should assure their welfare by providing basic services.
G. Collaborative efforts
32. As stated in General Assembly resolution 50/168, both sending and
receiving countries have an obligation to seek mutual solutions to the
identified problems. Governments of the sending and receiving States should
consider entering into appropriate bilateral agreements and other arrangements
which should provide guidelines on the best ways to deal with the problems of
violence against women migrant workers.
33. A number of views were expressed on the importance of international and
multilateral agreements and conventions - for example, the need to ratify the
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant
Workers and Members of Their Families, e/ conventions of the International
Labour Organization and other international and regional conventions that were
relevant to the protection of migrant women workers, on such matters as
trafficking and prostitution, elimination of discrimination against women,
slavery, forced labour and child labour. It was important to renew efforts to
mobilize support in member States for the ratification and the accession to
international conventions and instruments that were relevant to the promotion
of the welfare of women migrant workers.
34. It was repeatedly stressed that it was essential to take a global
approach to the issues of violence and the harmonization of policies in the
direction of greater protection of the rights of women migrant workers.
35. The Expert Group noted that many United Nations organizations were
involved in work related to issues of migration and violence against women
migrant workers - the Commission on the Status of Women, the Commission on
Human Rights, the Commission on Population and Development, the International
Labour Organization, and the United Nations Development Fund for Women, and
other United Nations human rights monitoring bodies.
H. Indicators and statistical data collection
36. The Group pointed out that good public policy needed to be based on
facts about the actual situation of the people for whom the policy was being
developed. Data were needed about the types of problems as well as their
extent. Discrepancies existed in reports of the numbers of migrant workers,
because they were based on different sources, including sending and receiving
countries, and used different methodologies, including airport surveys and
registration of contracts. The discrepancies hindered the comparability of
data across States. Another problem in deriving a profile of migrant women
workers arose because of the uncertain nature of their legal status.
37. As far as overt evidence of violence was concerned, there was massive
underreporting, for four reasons: fear of reprisals, fear of deportation, the
pressure of indebtedness, and shame and embarrassment. Even where reporting
existed, it was fragmented, and information was not consolidated. The
isolated and dependent nature of employment was an indicator of both of
underreporting and an indication of the massive and hidden extent of abuse.
38. The Group agreed that the United Nations should facilitate the
development of standardized procedures for the data collection recommended and
encouraged all sending and receiving countries to collect and share such data.
It also agreed that indicators of violence against women migrant workers
should include all acts of exploitation and abuse of rights which reflected a
perception of women as inferior and rendered them vulnerable to other forms of
I. Empowerment strategies
39. The Expert Group recognized that there had been several creative and
notable initiatives undertaken by migrant women workers themselves. They had
organized self-help and support groups in such areas as counselling, skills
training, legal and paralegal assistance, including information on rights, and
social and recreational projects. With the assistance of sympathetic groups,
they had also lobbied for the relaxation of restrictive governmental policies
and the provision of, and greater access to, social services and benefits.
J. Role of the non-governmental organizations
40. The Expert Group considered as critical the important work of
non-governmental organizations which had alerted the international community
to violations of women's human rights and had provided research, documentation
and the political will to find appropriate redress. It was important to
encourage non-governmental organizations and other advocacy groups to be more
involved not only in the identification of the problems but also in finding
solutions through local, regional and international programmes. In that
regard, non-governmental organizations should be enabled, supported and
encouraged to do their work.
K. Statements of observers
41. Statements were made by official observers from the Governments of
Belgium, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, Nigeria, the Philippines and Singapore and
from the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women.
Representatives from United Nations agencies and bodies also spoke - namely,
the International Labour Organization (ILO), United Nations High Commissioner
for Refugees (UNHCR), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations
Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), and the United Nations Development
Programme (UNDP). The representative of the International Organization for
Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization, also made a statement.
Statements were read by the following non-governmental organizations: Third
World Movement Against the Exploitation of Women (TW-MAE-W), No to Violence
Against Women (NOVA), Association of Filipino Overseas Workers, Philippine
Migrants Rights Watch, Yokohama Diocese Solidarity Centre for Migrants, and
the Asian and Pacific Development Centre.
42. The observer from Singapore made four points in his statement which he
wanted recorded. These were: first, that the issue of violence against women
migrant workers should be seen in a wider context; secondly, that, as stated
in the experts' papers, responsibility should be borne by sending and
receiving countries; thirdly, that there appeared to be overall net benefits
accruing to many women migrant workers; and fourthly, that there was need to
acknowledge a differentiated approach to the issue, given the different
domestic conditions prevailing in different countries.
43. Noting General Assembly resolution 50/168, in which the Assembly
requested the Meeting "to develop concrete indicators as a basis for
determining the situation of women migrant workers", the Expert Group made
recommendations on indicators of violence and of vulnerability and on data on
the general characteristics of women migrant workers and their situations, in
the belief that they are essential for understanding the phenomenon of
violence against women migrant workers.
A. Indicators of violence
44. Research and experience suggest that the following list of indicators of
violence, while not exhaustive, includes the most significant types of
violence inflicted on migrant workers, and it is recommended that data be
collected on each of them. It is recognized that economic exploitation can in
certain circumstances be seen as constituting a form of violence.
1. Economic exploitation
In the country of origin:
(a) Charging by agents over and above established governmental rates for
documentation and processing, and the collection of unauthorized payments;
(b) Excessive rates of interest on loans for travel and other expenses.
In the receiving country:
(a) Non-payment or delay in payment of wages due under contract;
(b) Violation of wages agreed to in contract.
2. Social/psychological violence
(a) Living and working conditions substantially in breach of
internationally and/or nationally agreed standards;
(b) Deprivation of access to social networks and social and religious
facilities, and enforced isolation;
(c) Onset of illnesses diagnosed as relating to living and working
conditions that breach conventions;
(d) Deprivation of access to medical and health facilities;
(e) Subjection to harassment, threats, punishment, intimidation, verbal
abuse and ridicule.
3. Physical/sexual violence
Physical abuse and sexual harassment and abuse, including rape, by:
(a) Agents or governmental officials;
(b) Employers and others in their households.
4. Violence resulting from the operation of the legal system
(a) Unreasonable imprisonment, confinement or deportation;
(b) Unlawful or forced substitution of contracts;
(c) Unlawful withholding of passports and other documentation;
(d) Absence and/or breach of contract.
B. Indicators of vulnerability f/, g/
45. The following list, while not exhaustive, covers those situations where
research and experience suggest that women migrant workers are more vulnerable
than the overall population of workers, and it is recommended that
intervention be focused on them and other demonstrated situations of
vulnerability. Although it may be difficult to present these situations in
terms of precise and measurable indicators, it is suggested that both
qualitative and quantitative indicators are important in relation to
indicators of violence against women migrant workers and that specific
indicators for the following can be developed in due course.
1. Invalid documentation
Women are recruited and moved abroad without appropriate valid
2. Recruitment of under-age women/girls
Women/girls who are under age, according to the legal definition of the
sending country, are recruited.
3. Unauthorized agents
Recruitment is by agents in the sending countries who are not subject to
governmental control in the form of licensing and accreditation,
supervision and sanctions in accordance with governmental regulations
4. Inadequate preparation
Women move abroad without preparation that is in accord with
governmental and/or international regulations and guidelines on
preparation (which still need to be developed).
5. Inadequate sources of support
Women migrant workers abroad have no adequate source of
support/assistance and/or no ability and/or right to gain access to such
a source, in the form of:
(a) A representative of their country;
(b) An ombudsman or similar local authority;
(c) A recognized non-governmental organization or other such support
(d) Any other suitable arrangement.
6. Inadequate reintegration services
Returning women migrant workers have no access to services designed to
assist with their reintegration or, if necessary, their rehabilitation
if they have been the victims of violence.
7. Violence in country of origin
Women go abroad because they have been the victims of violence in their
countries of origin.
8. Inadequate regulations
Receiving countries have no clear governmental or international
regulations or guidelines for women in general or specifically for women
migrant workers on:
(a) Forms of abuse and violence;
(b) General working conditions.
C. Data on the general characteristics of women
46. It is recommended that the following data on the general characteristics
of women migrant workers and their situations be collected and used for
identifying, analysing and understanding violence against women migrant
1. General characteristics of departing women
(a) Basic socio-economic data;
(b) Demographic data;
(c) Occupation and income prior to departure;
(d) Province of origin;
(e) Country of destination;
(f) Intended occupation abroad;
(g) Source of recruitment;
(h) Motivation for going abroad to work;
(i) General circumstances of families of origin;
(j) Role of intermediaries in recruitment.
2. General characteristics of women migrant workers in receiving countries
(a) Numbers, by country of origin and type of occupation;
(b) Demographic data.
3. General characteristics of the situation prevailing in countries of
(a) Unemployment rates and other relevant labour market data;
(b) Gender bias (as measured by UNDP); h/
(c) Domestic violence, incidence of;
(d) Legislation, regulations and other protective arrangements
applicable to the rights of workers.
4. General characteristics of the situation prevailing in receiving
(a) Legislation, regulations and other protective arrangements
applicable to local women in employment and women migrant workers;
(b) Gender bias (as measured by UNDP); h/
(c) Domestic violence, incidence of.
D. Methods of data collection
47. Noting that it is important to collect both qualitative and quantitative
data, the Expert Group recommended the following forms of data collection for
use, inter alia, in relation to the range of indicators shown:
1. Data collection in sending countries
(a) Routinely collected national-level data on the extent and basic
nature of the movement of women migrant workers (to provide data on
sections C.1 (a)-
C.1 (g) above);
(b) Surveys of departing women to obtain more detailed information (to
provide data on sections C.1 (h)-C.1 (j) above);
(c) Surveys of returning workers on overseas experience, including any
instances of violence (to provide data on sections A and B above);
(d) Systematic collection of data from organizations to which returning
women migrant workers are most likely to turn for assistance (to provide data
on sections A and B above).
2. Data collection in receiving countries
(a) Regular monitoring of data from organizations set up to receive
complaints from women migrant workers (to provide data on section A above);
(b) Systematic collection of data on violations of the rights of women
migrant workers from relevant non-governmental organizations (to provide data
on section A above);
(c) Regular monitoring of migrant entry data - work permit applications,
embassy registers and household surveys which should reflect the numbers of
women migrant workers in the country, and perhaps additional data (to provide
data on section C.2 above);
(d) Systematic collection of data from institutions to which women
migrant workers are admitted or have recourse during their employment abroad,
such as hospitals and courts (to provide data on section A above.
3. Research in sending and receiving countries
Research to cover areas not covered by regular and ongoing data
E. Other recommendations
48. The Expert Group recommended that the appropriate United Nations
agencies request member Governments to undertake and/or facilitate the
collection of data relating to the above-listed indicators.
49. Given the current extent of knowledge of the situation of violence
against women migrant workers, the Expert Group also recommended that the
appropriate United Nations body/entity undertake, as soon as possible, a
series of studies in selected sending and receiving countries, to collect data
(a) The extent and nature of violence against women migrant workers;
(b) The impact of violence on women migrant workers, their families and
F. Measures to improve the coordination efforts of the
United Nations system on violence against women
migrant workers i/, j/
50. The Expert Group discussed measures to improve coordination of efforts
taken by United Nations agencies on the issue on violence against women
migrant workers. Those actions are to be taken by Governments, regional
intergovernmental bodies and the United Nations.
1. Action to be taken by Governments
51. The globalization of migrant labour and the problems that beset migrant
women workers form an increasing reality of the contemporary global economy.
National Governments that deny or have ambivalent policies with regard to the
existence of de facto migration should, together with intergovernmental
organizations, take the steps necessary to ensure the full protection of those
de facto migrants, recognize their genuine rights and provide them with
adequate support services and social benefits. Governments, in collaboration
with non-governmental organizations, should establish outreach programmes and
shelters and provide legal, social and educational assistance to women migrant
52. Governments of receiving and sending countries, in collaboration with
non-governmental organizations, should provide migrant workers with extensive
pre-departure information about the laws, culture, and working and living
conditions in receiving societies. Such information should include mechanisms
for support services - e.g., shelters, mediation, non-governmental
organizations etc. Similar information should be provided to the general
public in the labour-exporting countries.
53. One of the factors underlying abuse and violence against women migrant
workers is governmental inaction or indifference. Concerned States should be
held accountable, in accordance with the "due diligence principle", for their
inaction on issues of violence against women migrant workers.
54. National labour standards should be applied to women migrant workers and
be revised and implemented in conformity with international standards and
recommendations put forth by the International Labour Organization.
Governments should also encourage workers' organizations to include in their
activities the protection of women migrant workers.
55. In order to ensure protection of the human rights of workers,
particularly women migrant workers, in receiving countries, efforts should be
made to recognize the status of those in non-documented or irregular
circumstances, given that many of those women are undocumented as a result of
deception or coercion. Furthermore, support services should be provided in
56. Non-documented or irregular status predisposes migrants, particularly
women migrant workers, to exposure to violence. Proactive measures should be
taken by both sending and receiving countries to reduce the outflows of non-
57. Effective measures should be taken by both sending and receiving
countries to institute sanctions against intermediaries who deliberately
encourage the clandestine movement of workers and who exploit women migrant
workers. Governments should more effectively regulate private recruitment
agencies and agents so as to minimize the number of non-documented migrants.
58. In receiving societies, steps should be taken to provide equal
enforcement of laws to protect women migrant workers. Furthermore, where laws
for protecting women migrant workers do not exist, they should be enacted.
59. Law enforcement officials, procedures and practices often contribute to
an exacerbation of the violence and abuse experienced by migrant women
workers. Governments should train law enforcement officials to aid women
migrant workers who are victims of violence and to encourage the reporting of
such violations and the prosecution of the perpetrators.
60. Governments should provide sufficient resources and gender-sensitivity
training for embassy and consulate personnel and other relevant governmental
officials to respond to the needs of women migrant workers, particularly those
who have been subjected to violence and abuse.
61. Governments should establish appropriate services for women migrant
workers returning to their home countries who have been victims of violence
and/or support reintegration programmes initiated by non-governmental
62. Bilateral agreements or other arrangements on migration for employment
should include provisions such as minimum contractual conditions, grievance
measures/mechanisms for aggrieved women migrant workers. There is need for
common procedures to handle complaints, joint commissions, study committees
63. Collaborative measures should be established in sending countries to
reduce competition among them to provide migrant workers when the results of
such competition may jeopardize the well-being of women migrant labour abroad.
64. Governments should take broad-spectrum measures to eliminate traffic in
human beings in the widest sense of the term (i.e., for the purpose of
prostitution or other forms of commercialized sex, forced marriages, and
forced labour) and ensure that those measures are implemented. Governments
should act to dismantle national, regional and international networks of
trafficking in human beings. Governments should be encouraged to prosecute
individual and organized traffickers who operate outside the jurisdiction of
their own States, even without a complaint or official notice from the
countries from which the persons are taken.
65. Appropriate criminal, civil, and financial sanctions should be adopted
to prosecute any person or organization contributing to trafficking in
persons. Moreover, victims of trafficking and support organizations should be
assisted in bringing legal action against perpetrators. In that connection,
the Expert Group Meeting considered that victims of trafficking should not be
prosecuted for illegal residence but be provided safe shelters and support
(i.e., counselling, job training, legal assistance and confidential health
care), including protection against reprisals, in the countries of origin,
transit and destination.
2. Action to be taken by regional intergovernmental bodies
66. Intergovernmental and regional economic and political bodies should
recognize and enact policies addressing the globalization of migrant labour as
an essential and structural feature of the globalization of economies. Such
policies should be sensitive to the concerns of women migrant workers.
67. Regional human rights commissions and/or mechanisms, in close
collaboration with non-governmental organizations, should regularly inquire
into the conditions of women migrant workers and act on cases of violence
68. Multilateral initiatives at the regional level should respond to the
plight of women migrant workers in non-documented and irregular situations.
69. The regional commissions are urged to hold meetings on migration and
development, with a particular focus on women migrant workers.
3. Action to be taken by the United Nations
70. The Administrative Committee on Coordination (ACC) should serve as the
focal point within the United Nations system responsible for effectively
coordinating initiatives relating to violence against women migrant workers.
In that capacity, ACC, its task forces and the Interagency Committee on
Women's Advancement should examine the mandates and policies of agencies and
bodies of the United Nations with a view to identifying where their work can
be enhanced with regard to violence against women migrant workers. Further,
ACC should undertake a comprehensive review of the effectiveness of existing
policies on migration, women, and violence against women in order to identify
the areas where issues relating to violence against women migrant workers are
not fully addressed. The ACC machinery should also coordinate initiatives to
assist in the implementation of the recommendations of the present report.
71. The Commission on the Status of Women and/or an appropriate United
Nations body should monitor the ongoing implementation of the recommendations
of the present report.
72. The research and statistical entities of the United Nations should
undertake a programme to develop indicators and research on women migrant
workers taking into account the recommendations of the Meeting.
73. At its sixteenth session in January 1997, the Committee on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women may wish to consider,
discuss and take action on the question on violence against women migrant
workers in accordance with its General Recommendation No. 19 on Violence
74. The United Nations human rights monitoring bodies and mechanisms and the
ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations
should regularly request information from States parties on the status and
conditions of women migrant workers and on programmes and services for women
75. The secretariat of the United Nations Decade on Human Rights Education
should integrate the issue of violence against women, including violence
against women migrant workers, into its programme of activities.
76. Member States of the United Nations should be urged to ratify the
International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant
Workers and Members of Their Families and ILO conventions that are relevant to
the promotion of the welfare and the rights of women migrants.
77. The United Nations system should involve civil society in urging member
States to ratify the International Convention on the Rights of All Migrant
Workers and Members of their Families and the ILO conventions relevant to the
promotion of the welfare of women migrant workers.
a/ "Report of the World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna,
14-25 June 1993" (A/CONF.157/24 (Part I)), chap. III.
b/ "Report of the Fourth World Conference on Women, Beijing,
4-15 September 1995" (A/CONF.177/20, chap. I, resolution 1, annex II).
c/ General Assembly resolution 34/180.
d/ General Assembly resolution 48/104.
e/ General Assembly resolution 45/158.
f/ One expert, Mr. Then Yee Thoong, felt that, in chapter III, the
title for section B should be "Identification of situations of vulnerability."
He clarified the reasons why Working Group I had decided to include such a
section - namely, to bring to the attention of Governments the fact that the
presence of the situations listed in section B could lead to violence against
women migrant workers. Moreover, the situations were qualitative in nature
and did not lend themselves to quantitative measurements, as would be expected
g/ The observer from the Government of Singapore also made a comment
about section B of chapter III, which the Meeting agreed should be reflected
in the report. She suggested that the title should be "Indicators of
vulnerability" or "Identification of situations of vulnerability" and that the
indicators listed had general problems in terms of measurability and the
subjectivity involved. For instance, the term "no adequate source" in
subsection B.5 was open to interpretation. "Adequate" in one case may not
have the same meaning as "adequate" in another, and indicators presuppose a
norm against which a comparison can be made. In the absence of a norm, the
indicator was open to interpretation, which could lead to comparability and
Although the final report would be adopted by the Experts in their
individual and private capacities, the representative of Singapore referred to
paragraph 8 of General Assembly resolution 50/168, in which the expert group
was called upon to develop concrete indicators as a basis for determining the
situation of women migrants workers. She suggested that that implied a broad-
based set of indicators on the situation of women migrant workers as a whole
and would include other indicators apart from those on violence against women
migrant workers. While there was no doubt that cases of victimization of
women migrant workers existed, to provide a more balanced approach and to
better determine the situation of women migrant workers as a whole, positive
indicators should also be included, on matters such as where women migrant
workers extended or renewed their employment; their motivation for staying;
net benefits perceived by women migrant workers; remittances received in
She recommended that an open-ended working group of the General Assembly
be set up to study further the question of indicators as suggested by the
Expert Group Meeting. As the working group would be open to all members of
the General Assembly, when the issue of indicators is being discussed, it
could result in greater acceptability by the general membership at large.
h/ Human Development Report 1995 (New York, Oxford University Press,
1955), pp. 72-86.
i/ At the request of the observer from Singapore, the Expert Group
agreed to include the following comment in its report: "Operative paragraph 8
of General Assembly resolution 50/168 mandated that the Expert Group Meeting
come up with 'recommendations for improving coordination of the various
efforts of United Nations agencies on the issue of violence against women
migrant workers, and to develop concrete indicators as a basis for determining
the situation of women migrant workers'. However, the Expert Group Meeting
had gone beyond the mandate given by the General Assembly to put forward
recommendations for 'action to be taken by Governments' and 'action to be
taken by regional intergovernmental bodies', which were not required by the
j/ At the request of one of the experts, Mr. Then Yee Thoong, the
Expert Group Meeting agreed to reflect his concerns on a number of paragraphs
in this part of the report. They are as follows:
Paragraphs 51, 55 and 56
The Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population
and Development made references to undocumented migrant workers. One major
factor why workers migrate is to escape the poverty and unemployment situation
in the home countries. Legalizing undocumented migrant workers would further
encourage and exacerbate the outflow of undocumented migrant workers. This
can create serious economic and social implications for small, open receiving
countries. Furthermore, it would make it difficult to control trafficking of
women under such circumstances.
It is practically impossible for receiving countries to provide
extensive pre-departure information to potential migrant workers. This should
be done by the sending countries.
This would be difficult to implement and enforce. Practical problems
exist, for example: to whom is the Government accountable? For what should
the State be accountable? When does the State become accountable?
Paragraphs 54, 65 and 66
These texts would imply that Governments would have to enact laws in
line with ILO standards, even though those Governments might themselves not
have ratified the relevant ILO instruments. This would open new avenues for
certain countries on bodies to lobby for sanctions to be imposed, particularly
trade sanctions, on countries that failed to amend their laws in accordance
with ILO instruments. It would be no different from re-introducing or
reopening the issue of "social clause" - i.e., imposing a certain uniform
basis of social protection as a condition of participating in the multilateral
trade system - and this would be dangerous. (Cf. International Labour Office
Governing Body, Working Party on the Social Dimensions of International Trade,
"Social dimensions of the liberalization of world trade" (GB.261/WP/SLD/1)
(Geneva, November 1994).
1. The laws apply equally to local nationals or foreigners who are found
guilty of abusive and violent acts in all receiving countries.
2. It is common for countries to exclude certain categories of workers from
their labour codes for good reasons. In Singapore, for example, the
Employment Act exclude professional, managerial and executive employees as
well as domestic workers, whether local or foreign. Extending the law to
cover foreign domestic workers would be seen to give migrant workers more
protection than what local workers enjoy.
3. Receiving countries should be given the flexibility to decide how best
to protect women migrant workers. In many instances, administrative measures
may prove more effective than legal ones.
Paragraphs 62 and 63
The expert considered that bilateral agreements were the prerogative of
the two States concerned. It was not for the Expert Group Meeting to instruct
Governments. He also sought clarification on the intention of paragraph 62.
The expert referred to the report of the Secretary-General on violence
against women (A/50/378), which stated that trafficking would be the subject
of a separate report.
Paragraphs 76 and 77
Given the small number of States that had ratified or acceded to the
International Convention on the Protection of All Migrant Workers and Members
of Their Families and the fact that the Convention had not come into force
yet, as a matter of practicality, primary reliance for the protection of women
migrant workers must rest with the domestic laws of the receiving countries.
Moreover, given the diversity of domestic conditions of each receiving
country, international regimes can only always, at best, supplement the
domestic law of the receiving country.
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