Fair Labor Association reports pregnancy discrimination and deportation of migrant women workers in Asia

Author: Anuradha Nagaraj, Thomson Reuters Foundation, Published on: 1 April 2018

"Pregnant migrant workers in Asia face discrimination, deportation-report," 26 March 2018

Women migrant workers in parts of Asia risk being deported if they become pregnant, forcing many to have unwanted abortions or abandon their newborns...

Migrant workers in garment and footwear factories are forced to undergo regular pregnancy tests, according to the Fair Labor Association (FLA), a coalition of companies, universities and charities.

...FLA called for an end to "pregnancy discrimination", and urged countries to scrap laws that allow or encourage pregnancy tests and the use of contraception as a condition of employment.

The group also encouraged brands - including those who have committed to FLA's code of conduct, such as Nestle and Hugo Boss - to support initiatives to protect pregnant workers.

There are more than 122 million women working outside their home countries globally... Many of them find factory jobs in Asian nations like Taiwan, Thailand and Malaysia.

Migrant workers in these countries are under tremendous pressure to finish their contracts so they can continue to financially support their families back home...

The report states that Malaysia...has the most restrictive legal environment for female migrants.

A migrant working in a Malaysian factory found to be pregnant is immediately deported at her own expense. To avoid deportation, many enter the informal workforce where labour laws are often ignored and abuses are common.

While Taiwan bans pregnancy testing and prohibits employers from terminating a pregnant worker, it provides no legal status for their children.

In Thailand, pregnant workers from Myanmar, Laos, and Cambodia are eligible for pre and post natal care. But they are subjected to pregnancy tests as part of a general medical exam when they apply for a work permit.


FLA's report "Triple Discrimination: Woman, Pregnant, and Migrant", can be downloaded here.


Read the full post here

Related companies: Hugo Boss Nestlé