Women and International Migration in Asia and The Pacific by mky16363

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									Migration by Region: Asia and the Pacific
Trends

International migration is having a significant impact in the social, demographic and
economic development of all Asian nations.1 Over 20 million Asian workers are
estimated to be living outside their native countries.2

Asia has been a primary destination for migrants since the 1960s and today accounts for
some 28 per cent of the world‟s international migrants.3 However, these migrants
represent just 1.4 per cent of the region‟s total population. A significant share – 14.6 per
cent – are refugees.4

The continent is also the leading source of family and authorized economic migration to
most of the world‟s immigrant-receiving regions and countries.5

The nine largest immigrant-exporting countries (Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia,
Myanmar, Pakistan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand) together contribute between
one half and two thirds of all documented immigrants and refugees to the international
migration stream.6

         Classification of Asian nations on the basis of their international labor
         migration situation
         Mainly emigration
           Philippines             Bangladesh        Cambodia        Laos
           China                   Sri Lanka         Indonesia       Vietnam
           India                    Pakistan         Burma           Nepal
         Mainly immigration
           South Korea             Taiwan            Singapore
           Japan                   Hong Kong         Brunei
         Both significant emigration and immigration
           Malaysia
           Thailand
         Source: - Global Commission on International Migration, Migration in the Asia-
         Pacific region by Graemo Hugo, 2005, pg: -8.




The Feminization of Asian Migration

Women constitute almost half of all immigrants in Asia.7

       Female migrants as percentage of all international migrants
        Region              1960    1970      1980    1990    1995       2000        2005
        Asia                46.4    46.8      44.6    45.2    45.2       45.4        44.7
        Eastern Asia        47.4    48.6      46.8    49.1    50.1       52.8        53.5
        South-central Asia  46.4    46.9      45.9    47.6    48.0       48.0        47.9
        South-eastern Asia 45.4     46.9      46.1    4 6.1 46.3         47.6        48.6
        Western Asia        46.9    44.9      40.7    39.9    39.8       40.1        38.8
         Source: - World Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision Population Database




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In several countries, considerably more women than men are emigrant workers:
In 2005, for example, over 65 per cent of the nearly 3,000 Filipinos that left the country
every day for work or residence abroad were women.8 In 2002, two women left Sri Lanka
for every male emigrant.9 Between 2000 and 2003, 79 per cent of all migrants leaving
Indonesia to work abroad were women.10

The 1997 financial crisis in Asia led to the emigration of many women from poorer
countries.11 By 2000, an estimated two million Asian women were working in
neighbouring countries.12

A large number of female migrants from Asia have also been arriving in industrial
countries, such as Canada and Australia, for family reunification.13

Labour Migration

Asia is one of the world‟s largest suppliers of female domestic workers, with Indonesia,
Sri Lanka and the Philippines being the largest exporters. Many of these women become
domestic workers in other Asian countries as well as in other regions, especially the
Middle East and Europe.14 The ILO reports that in 2003 there were 200,000 foreign
domestic workers in Hong Kong (SAR, China) and 155,000 in Malaysia.15

One third of the labour migrants within the region are women, the great majority of
whom work in domestic services or entertainment, sectors often not covered by national
labour laws.16

Throughout the 1990s, many of these women also ended up working in the largely
unregulated sex industry, which accounted for an estimated 2 -14 per cent of the GDP in
four South-East Asian countries.17 The industry is fueled by dire poverty, discrimination
and unemployment in Asia.

In South-East and East Asian countries that admit migrants exclusively for temporary
labour, the share of women in labour migration flows has been increasing sharply since
the late 1970s.18

Among female migrants from Asia who move to work, low-skilled women predominate.
They are concentrated in a relatively small number of occupations.19 However, highly
skilled Asian women also migrate for work abroad, although many end up doing menial
labour. For instance, many Filipino women who have tertiary level education have
become domestic workers overseas.20

The demand for nurses is a major pull factor, especially to meet shortages in wealthier
countries. In 2003, an estimated 85 per cent of employed Filipino nurses were working
abroad.21 In Singapore, 30 per cent of the nurses registered in 2003 were born outside the
country.22



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Trafficking

One third of the global trafficking in women and children occurs in South-East Asia,
where there are an estimated 230,000 victims.23 The Greater Mekong Subregion,
comprising Cambodia, Yunan Province of China, Lao People's Democratic Republic,
Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam, are major trafficking areas, as is Indonesia.

Thailand, in addition to being a destination country, serves as a source and transit hub for
trafficked persons to other Asian countries, Australia, the United States and Western
Europe.24

South Asia has the second largest number of internationally trafficked persons, estimated
at 150,000.25 India and Pakistan are major countries of destination for trafficked women
and girls and are also transit points into the Middle East..26

ILO estimates that once victims are in destination countries, traffickers net $32 billion a
year – half generated in industrialized countries and almost one third in Asia.27


Marriage migration

Due to a high demand for foreign brides, migration for marriage is increasing in Asia.

In many East and South-East Asian countries, the increase in women entering the
workforce – coupled with a trend towards delaying or forgoing marriage and childbearing
altogether – is leading to a demand for more „traditional‟ brides in order to maintain the
household.28

In Taiwan Province of China, brides now represent about half of the total migrant
population.29 Since the 1990s, nearly 100,000 Vietnamese women have married
Taiwanese men.30 There is also a surge in the numbers of women migrating to South
Korea to marry local men.31 Significant numbers of Filipino women have married men in
Japan, Australia, North America and Europe.32

Remittances

Remittances are a major part of the economies of the South Asian countries. The Sri
Lankan Government has stated that overseas remittances “have now become the
backbone of the country‟s economy.”33 About a million overseas contract workers from
that country, 60 per cent of them female domestic workers, sent home $1.2 billion in
2002.34

Of the roughly $6 billion remitted annually to the Philippines in the late 1990s, migrant
women transferred one third.35




                                                                                              3
Bangladeshi women working in the Middle East sent home 72 per cent of their earnings
on average.36


       Leading developing country recipients of remittances




Reproductive Health/ HIV/AIDS/ Gender-Based Violence

Asian migrants are vulnerable to violence and HIV.

Recent statistics from the Philippine Department of Health show that of the 1,385
Filipino nationals currently diagnosed as HIV positive, 33 per cent are overseas
workers.37 (Because of testing practices, migrants are, however, often disproportionately
represented in such statistics.)

While there is a notable dearth of data on violence against migrant women, smaller
studies indicate a high incidence of abuses. For example, over 1,600 Sri Lankan women
reported harassment in their workplaces overseas, according to the country‟s Bureau for
Employment, in 2001.38 The Sri Lanka Government reported that seven female migrants
tested positive for HIV in 2002 for every male migrant.39

In a study conducted among Burmese immigrants in two Thai provinces following the
2004 tsunami, researchers discovered that one in four mothers delivered without a skilled
birth attendant; 55 per cent of all infants had not been immunized and only half of all
married women were using contraception.40 The survey also found that half of all adults
interviewed lacked basic knowledge about HIV, despite the relatively high incidence (30



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per cent) of unmarried males who reported paying for sex without consistently using
condoms.




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1
  Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration. p:2.
2
  Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration.p:8.
3
    World Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision Population Database
4
    World Migrant Stock: The 2005 Revision Population Database

5
 International Organization for Migration. 2005. World Migration 2005: Costs and
Benefits of International Migration, Geneva: IOM, p. 103.

6
 International Organization for Migration. 2005. World Migration 2005: Costs and
Benefits of International Migration, Geneva: IOM, p.103.
7
 International Organization for Migration. 2005. World Migration 2005: Costs and
Benefits of International Migration, Geneva: IOM, p.109.
8
  Based on Philippine Labour Department data. In: Opiniano, J. 2005. “MoreRemittances from Women
Emphasize Feminization of Migration: ADB Study.” Web site: www.tinig.com/2005/more-remittances-
from-women-emphasize-feminization-of-migration-%E2%80%93-adb-study/, accessed 23 January 2006.
SWOP.
9
 Weeramunda, A. J. 2004. “Sri Lanka,”pp. 138-139. Ch. 8 in: No Safety Signs Herre: Research Study on
Migration and HIV Vulnerability from Seven South and North East Asian Countries, by UNDP and Asia
Pacific Migration Research Network. 2004. New York: UNDP. SWOP.
10
 United Nations. 2006. World Population Monitoring, Focusing on International Migration and
Development: Report of the Secretary-General (E/CN.9/2006/3), p. 14, Table 15. New York: United
Nations. SWOP.
11
  Tutnjevic, T. 2002. Gender and Financial/Economic Downturn. InFocus Programme on Crisis Response
and Reconstruction Working Paper. No. 9. Geneva: Recovery and Reconstruction Department,
International Labour Office, ILO. SWOP.
12
  Estimate includes documented and undocumented migrants, based on immigrant stock data. See:
Yamanaka, K., and N. Piper. 2005. Feminized Migration in East and South-East Asia: Policies, Actions
and Empowerment, p. 2. Occasional Paper Gender Policy Series. No. 11. Geneva: United Nations Research
Institute for Social Development. Also in: Asis, M. M. B. 2006. “Gender Dimensions of Labor Migration in
Asia.” Paper prepared for the High-level Panel on the Gender Dimensions of International Migration, 50 th
Session of the Commission on the Status of Women, New York, New York, 2 March 2006. New York:
United Nations. SWOP.
13
   Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration.p:20.




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14
   Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration.p:18.
15
   IOM. 2003. Preventing Discrimination, Exploitation and Abuse of Women Migrant
Workers: An Information Guide. Geneva: International Labour Office. Cited in United Nations. 2005. 2004
World Survey on the Role of Women in Development: Women and International Migration
(A/59/287/Add.1, ST/ESA/294), p. 59. New York: Division for the Advancement of Women, Department
of Economic and Social Affairs, United Nations.
16
     Regional Seminar on the Social Implications of International Migration. 2005. Bangkok.p:6.
17
   Sex work as percentage of GDP estimates range from 2 per cent to 14 per cent for the four countries
studied. See: ILO. 19 August 1998. “Sex Industry Assuming Massive Proportions in South-East Asia.”
Press release. Geneva and Manila: ILO. Web site: www.ilo.org/public/english/bureau/inf/pr/1998/31.htm,
accessed 14 March 2006. SWOP.
18
   ILO, 2003:9 in Piper, Nicola. 2005. Gender and Migration. A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration. p:4.
19
   Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration.p:18.
20
   Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration.p:17. (see: Battistella 1995).
21
  Elgado-Lorenzo, F. M. “Table 6: Estimated Number of Employed Filipino Nurses by Work Setting,
2003.” P. 17 in: “Philippine Case Study on Nursing Migration,” by F. M. Elgado-Lorenzo. 2005.
Presentation to the Bellagio Conference on International Nurse Migration, Bellagio, Italy, 5-10 July
2005.Web site: www.academyhealth.org/international/nursemigration/lorenzo.ppt , last accessed 23 May
2006.
22
  Buchan, J., T. Parkin, and J. Sochalski. 2003. “International Nurse Mobility: Trends and Policy
Implications,” p. 18. Geneva: Royal College of Nurses, World Health Organization, and the International
Council of Nurses.SWOP
23
   Asian Migration News, 1-15 May 2003 in Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A
paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and Research Programme of the Global Commission on
International Migration. Global Commission on International Migration.p:50.
24
   PB: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. 2003. Human Trafficking, Regional Profile P. 2.
http://www.unodc.un.or.th/material/document/RegionalProfile.pdf SWOP.
25
  Miko, F. T., and G. Park. 2000. “Trafficking in Women and Children: The U.S. and International
Response.” Congressional Research Service Report 98-649 C. Washington, D. C.: United States
Department of State.SWOP.
26
  Masud Ali, A.K.M. 2005. "Treading along a Treacherous Trail: Research on Trafficking in Persons in
South Asia" in International Organization for Migration Data and Research on Human Trafficking: a
Global Survey. IOM. Geneva. 2005. p141.SWOP.



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27
  PB: [ ILO. 2005. Report of the Director-General: A Global Alliance against Forced Labour: Global
Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work: 2005
(Report I [B]). International Labour Conference, 93 rd Session. Geneva: International Labour Office, ILO.
[International Labour Organization. 2005. A Global Alliance against Forced Labour (2005). Report of the
Director-General. Global Report under the Follow-up to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles
and Rights at Work 2005. 93rd Session. International Labour Office. p55, p.56.] SWOP.
28
  G. W., and K. Ramdas (eds). 2004. (Un)tying the Knot: Ideal and Reality in Asian Marriage.
Singapore: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Cited in: “Transnational
Migration, Marriage and Trafficking at the ChinaVietnam Border,” p. 4 by Duong, L. B., D. Bélanger,
and K. T. Hong. 2005. Paper prepared for the Seminar on Female Deficit in Asia: Trends and
Perspectives, Singapore, 5-7 December 2005. Paris: Committee for International Cooperation in
National Research in Demography. SWOP.

29
  Tsay, C.-L. 2004. “Marriage Migration of Women from China and South-East Asia to Taiwan.” Pp. 173-
191 in: (Un)tying the Knot: Ideal and Reality in Asian Marriage, edited by G. W. Jones and K. Ramdas.
2004. Singapore: Asia Research Institute, National University of Singapore. Cited in: “Recent Trends in
International Migration in the Asia Pacific” (ESID/SIIM/13), p. 12, by the United Nations Economic and
Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UNFPA, International Organization for Migration, Asian
Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development. 2005. Regional Seminar on the Social
Implications of International Migration, 24-26 August 2005, Bangkok. Bangkok: United Nations Economic
and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, UNFPA, International Organization for Migration, Asian
Forum of Parliamentarians on Population and Development. SWOP.
30
 Wang, H., and S. Chang. 2002. “The Commodification of International Marriages: Cross-border
Marriage Business in Taiwan and Viet Nam.” International Migration 40(6): 93-114. SWOP.
31
  Lee, H.-K. 2003. “Gender, Migration and Civil Activism in South Korea.” Asian and Pacific
Migration Journal 12(1-2): 127-154. Cited in: “Recent Trends in International Migration in Asia and the
Pacific,” p. 34, by M. M. B. Asis. 2005. Asia-Pacific Population Journal 20(3): 15-38. SWOP.
32
  Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and
Research Programme of the Global Commission on International Migration. Global Commission on
International Migration.p:20.
33
   Asian Migration News, 31 August 2001 in Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific region: A
paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and Research Programme of the Global Commission on
International Migration. Global Commission on International Migration.p:31.
34
   Asian Migration News, 16-31 January 2003, in Hugo, Graemo. 2005. Migration in the Asia-Pacific
region: A paper prepared for the Policy Analysis and Research Programme of the Global Commission on
International Migration. Global Commission on International Migration.p:31.
35
  Estimated remittances to the Philippines in 2005 totalled US$13 billion, based on: The World Bank.
2006. Global Economic Prospects 2006: Economic Implications of Remittances and
Migration,.Washington, D. C.: The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the World
Bank. Remittances totalled US$6 billion in 1997, 1999, 2000 and 2001. See: World Bank. 2006. “Workers
Remittances, Compensation of Employees, and Migrant Transfers (US$ Million).” Spreadshet. Web site: at
http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTGEP2006/Resources/RemittancesDataGEP2006.xls, accessed 1 May
2006; and UNIFEM. 2004. “Women Migrant Workers‟ Capacity and Contribution,” p. 2. Ch. 8 in:
Empowering Women Migrant Workers in Asia: A Briefing Kit. New York: UNIFEM. SWOP.
36
  International Organization for Migration. 2005. Dynamics of Remittance Utilization in Bangladesh,” pp.
31-32. IOM Migration Research Series. Geneva: International Organization for Migration. SWOP.


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37
  It should be noted that although the Philippines has a law banning mandatory HIV testing for migrants,
host country employers often require it. 38th Session of the Commission on Population and Development.
Permanent Mission of the Republic of the Philippines to the United Nations. New York, 4 April 2005.
Philippine Statement by Mr. Tomas Osias, Executive Director Commission on Population and
Development. Available online at: http://www.un.int/philippines/statements/20050404.html. Accessed May
10, 2006.SWOP.
38
 Weeramunda, A. 2004. No Safety Signs Here. Chapter 8. Research Study on Migration and HIV
Vulnerability from Seven South and North East Asian Countries, Geneva: UNDP p. 135.SWOP.
39
 Weeramunda, A. 2004. in UNDP/APMRN No Safety Signs Here: Research Study on Migration and HIV
Vulnerability from Seven South and North East Asian Countries, Geneva: UNDP pp. 138-9.SWOP.
40
   Findings of a survey of 700 migrants conducted by Mahidol University‟s Institute for Population and
Social Research with funding from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and
UNFPA. UNFPA. 30th August 2005. “Survey Reveals Acute Need for Reproductive Health Care in
Thailand's Migrant Communities Affected by Tsunami.” Press Release.
http://www.unfpa.org/news/news.cfm?ID=661&Language=1 SWOP.




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