Violence against women migrant workersFemale migrant workers typically leave their countries for better living conditions and better pay -- but the real benefits accrue to both the host countries and the countries of origin.
For home countries, money sent home by migrant workers is an important source of hard currency, while receiving countries are able to find workers for low-paying jobs that might otherwise go unfilled.
But migrant workers themselves fare badly, and sometimes tragically. Many become virtual slaves, subject to abuse and rape by their employers.
In the Middle East and Persian Gulf region, there are an estimated 1.2 million women, mainly Asians, who are employed as domestic servants. According to the independent human rights group Middle East Watch, female migrant workers in Kuwait often suffer beatings and sexual assaults at the hands of their employers.
The police are often of little help. In many cases, women who report being raped by their employers are sent back to the employer -- or are even assaulted at the police station.
Working conditions are often appalling, and employers prevent women from escaping by seizing their passports or identity papers.
The report of the Special Rapporteur draws attention to the fact that there are many international instruments that can be used to prevent abuse against migrant women and suggests some measures to protect the human rights of migrant women.
Rights under the U.S. Law
"Of particular importance to women is the impact of federal regulations that benefit those immigrant spouses who are victims of domestic violence or abuse, which often takes the form of battery or extreme mental cruelty, and are afraid to speak out about it because they fear that they will be sent back to their home country in shame by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service. Even though the Sikh faith does not condone or even allow this behavior, our conservative culture can often force these victims to think twice about acting on such abuse when it does occur. Therefore it is important to get the word out to those who are experiencing this type of situation, that they do have rights under U.S. law." -- Raj S. Singh
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