Returnee migrant women workers: `Abandoned and Forgotten’



Returning migrant women workers, most in need, are forgotten and abandoned despite the presence of a plethora of reintegration programmes run by Governmental and non-governmental organizations.


This is the conclusion of a new study conducted by the Law & Society Trust.


Findings from the research reveals that many women migrants return without sufficient savings, employable skills, nor viable livelihood options. At times they find themselves indebted either directly or through loans incurred by their families. Ironically, these women migrate because of the absence of suitable alternative livelihood opportunities within the country or to pay off debts or construct a home or educate their children, and to save for their future. On their return, the women discover that they are still trapped in a circle of poverty where their situation and that of their families has not changed much for the better.


Among its other recommendations, the Law & Society Trust proposes that existing laws be reformed to include the issues and concerns of returnees and to be consistent with the United Nations Migrant Workers’ Convention; swift implementation of the 2008 National Labour Policy on Migration; for the Sri Lanka Bureau of Foreign Employment’s (SLBFE) new reintegration programme to be more holistic and inclusive of all returnees; and for improved governance of the SLBFE including by civil society representatives and migrant workers themselves.


More than 200,000 women and men leave Sri Lanka annually on temporary labour migration seeking a better standard of living for themselves and the families they leave behind. Their hard-earned savings are our country’s largest source of foreign income, and sustain millions of households.


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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