Amplifying Voices, Documenting Evidence, Strengthening Migrant Women’s Movements, Organising and Solidarity for Just Migration.
APWLD invites grassroots women migrants rights organisations and movements to take part in this exciting Feminist Participatory Action Research for Migrant Women’s Human Rights (Migration FPAR) programme that aims to develop capacity, tools and resources that support women migrants to demand their rights and justice and strengthen the migrant women’ movements.
There are various types of people on the move in Asia Pacific such as labour migrants, refugees, trafficked persons, smuggled migrants and asylum seekers. However, the type that dominates migration in the region is temporary labour migration regulated and processed by governments. Migrant workers in low-skill and low-status sectors such as agriculture, construction and domestic work makes up the largest migration type in the region. Women constitute majority of workers in health, care services including health and domestic work. Temporary labour migration, although regulated by governments, is mainly carried out by private recruitment and employment agencies. Such migration manifests in forms of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) or bilateral agreements between sending and receiving countries. Labour migration also exists in irregular channels especially when countries impose bans on MoU due to labour abuses, resulting in migrants resorting to smuggling or other means.
Migrant women in precarious and slavery-like employment
Despite international mechanisms and national laws and regulations protecting the rights of migrant workers, migrants’ rights violation and abuses often take place throughout all stages of migration. As migrant labour recruitment and remittances-related financial transaction have become multi-million US dollar business, the labour-export policies are promoted heavily by both governments and recruitment agencies. Regardless of being informed of the risks for their migration, migrants often experience abuse at this stage by having to pay exorbitant fees or facing other fraudulent practices by the agencies, leaving them and families in high amount of debts even before migrating. This is the reality of migrants in the region, i.e. no other option than to migrate to sustain their and families’ lives.
Once they arrive to the receiving countries, often their documents are confiscated with the agencies or employers as bargaining chips to ensure that workers do not leave or make complaints before the contract period ends. As most of them are concentrated in informal and low-valued sectors, temporary and seasonal migrants workers are often underpaid and face horrendous working and living conditions. Lack of robust labour inspection in informal sectors often aggravates such conditions. In most countries in Asia, migrant workers do not have the legal right to form labour unions although they may join one. Many fall into situation of debt bondage, forced labour, or trafficking.
As various immigration laws, policies and practices give asymmetrical power to employers, access to justice for migrant workers remains a big challenge in the region especially the right to redress and compensation. Women migrants additionally face sexual violence throughout stages of migration including at the workplace, especially in domestic work where the women workers are isolated from the public.
Women in the context of climate-induced migration
Climate change and its disproportionate impact on women and girls are well documented due to unequal power, access to resource, and distribution of care work. Displaced women and girls also face higher risks of being smuggled, trafficked and sexual violence whether they are displaced due to extreme weather events or slow onset climate change.
Climate change is one of the key drivers pushing people to migrate, especially in the areas of low–lying coastal cities and mega–deltas in countries like Bangladesh and Vietnam. Small–island, low–lying states, such as Tuvalu, the Maldives and Kiribati, may be lost to sea level rise, rendering their inhabitants stateless. As the threats to the people’s livelihoods on the islands are increasing, various adaptation strategies including temporary labour migration were presented as a viable adaptation strategy, while failing to guarantee rights and protection of the migrants.
Discrimination, rights violations and trafficking in marriage migrants
Marriage migration combines women migrants’ various gendered labour roles – cleaners, nannies, sex workers – into one. Some women who otherwise face barriers to migrating for work might assess marriage migration as a viable option. Substantial number of marriage migrants face the issues of having their visa status tied to their marriage, which could result in their deportation or separation from their children once their marriage end; or even to undermine their capacity as a free person to make a free and informed choice to end their marriage at their will.
Marriage migrations that constitute human rights abuses is an area that has been considered mostly through the lens of trafficking in persons. They manifest in forms of sham marriages and forced marriages. In the former, a would–be migrant is offered marriage as a route to secure residency papers usually for countries in the global north. This may lead in to situations of trafficking in persons or other human rights abuses. Other documented cases are clearer cases of forced marriages, including where the individual thinks they are migrating for work only to learn on arrival in the country of destination that they are expected to get married.
APWLD believes in the power of local feminist movements
Despite such challenges, women migrants have stood up and demanded justice by organising, campaigning and advocating for policy change. They have formed groups providing legal aid, shelters, and solidarity for fellow migrants and built movements to demand policies to the sending and receiving countries to respond to their needs.
As a way to support the organising efforts of women migrants as vocal and effective organisers, advocates and campaigners to respond to their challenges, APWLD is conducting Feminist Participatory Action Research for migrant women’s human rights (Migration FPAR) in 2019-2021. The FPAR will take place over the course of 1.5 years and consist of three regional trainings that will allow participants to conduct research projects that relates to their constituencies’ needs, use findings for advocacy and build movements.
JOIN OUR FEMINIST PARTICIPATORY ACTION RESEARCH FOR CHANGE!
Six to eight partner organisations will be selected to work with APWLD for 1.5 year (approximately from June 2019 – December 2020) to focus their FPAR on:
- Women migrants workers’ rights including Decent Work, living wage, rights to organise, and domestic workers’ rights;
- Access to justice for people on the move including domestic workers, trafficked persons, marriage migrants, refugees, climate-induced migrants. The area can cover, for example, immigration policies, criminal justice system, and gender-based violence.
Researchers will be introduced to feminism; a human rights based approach to development; feminist participatory action research methods; advocacy and campaigning for change; and feminist organising and movement building. They will access training in international human rights standards and rights-based approaches to their areas of research. Through a combination of face-to-face and online modules, they will:
- Document systematic violations of migrant women’s human rights eps. issues specific to the focus area at the local or country levels;
- Produce new knowledge and information regarding migrant women’s human rights to use for advocate for change;
- Expand their organising work to new areas or sectors.
Support for selected national partners
APWLD will provide six to eight organisations with a small grant to employ a young woman researcher and carry out the research including salary and on-costs with the approximate amount of USD 10,000-12,000. Research partners will need to appoint a mentor to assist this young women researcher throughout this research programme. APWLD will also support the young women researchers and their mentors to participate in capacity building workshops and provide advocacy or network opportunities.
Selection Criteria of the Research Partners
APWLD will select grassroots women migrant organisations who will lead the Migration FPAR in six to eight countries in Asia-Pacific.
As one of the objectives of this programme is to support and strengthen grassroots organisations, this programme is not suitable for international NGOs and organisations with established funding support or who are already well organised and able to advocate for women migrants and refugees.
We are seeking non-governmental, non-profit, grassroots based organisation that are:
- Committed towards the enjoyment and realisation of the human rights of women and people on the move at community level in Asia-Pacific, particularly of the most marginalised (women migrants workers in informal sectors, refugees, trafficked persons)
- Committed to conducting the 1.5 years Feminist Participatory Action Research (FPAR) process;
- Committed to using feminist participatory methodologies that increase democratic participation and leadership of marginalised women in the research;
- Committed to appointing a young woman researcher and mentor, either mentor or young women researcher should come from the community where the FPAR will be conducted.
- Able to provide internet and computer access for regular online communication with APWLD secretariat and online training
APWLD will consider the following when selecting six to eight organisations for this project:
- Sub-regional representation;
- Recommendations/ references by APWLD members;
- Issues and concerns represented in the research focus area.
Interested organisations shall submit:
- Completed application form and budget proposal
- Expression of interest
- Recommendation letter, preferably from an APWLD member
For more information on Migration FPAR, you can download the Concept Note.
(Please use the subject line: Application – Migration FPAR 2019_name of your organisation)
Incomplete applications will not be considered.
Please note that only selected applicants will be contacted.
For further questions, or if you need any help, please send an email to:
Suluck Fai Lamubol at firstname.lastname@example.org who will be happy to support grassroots organisations to apply.
 UN ESCAP. 2017. Trends and drivers of international migration in Asia and the Pacific. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, E/ESCAP/GCM/PREP/1, 30 August 2017, http://www.unescap.org/sites/default/files/GCMPREP_1E.pdf
 Yuval–Davis, Nira. 2009. Women, Globalization and Contemporary Politics of Belonging. Gender, Technology and Development 13(1), 1–19.
 ILO. 2017. Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage. International Labour Office (ILO), Geneva, 2017, http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@dcomm/documents/publication/wcms_575479.pdf