Traffic in Women in Asia-Pacific

By Skolnik, Laura; Boontinand, Jan | Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy, Spring 1999 | Go to article overview

Traffic in Women in Asia-Pacific


Skolnik, Laura, Boontinand, Jan, Forum for Applied Research and Public Policy


Unscrupulous agents prey on women desperate for work - legal or illegal - in the new global economy.

In the Asia-Pacific region, a long tradition of labor migration predates colonialism and has been molded by complex social, political, and economic factors. The movement between different social and cultural environments often has a powerful impact on the people involved. In many societies, a certain amount of prestige and status is given to those who successfully return from their sojourn elsewhere.

For instance, in northeastern Thailand, young men traditionally try to find opportunities away from home for a while to show their ability to support themselves before returning home.(1) The seasonal rhythm of the agricultural lifestyle in that region well accommodates these temporary migrations.

In modern times, the 1970s oil boom in the Middle East and stepped-up economic development in East Asia in the 1980s created a large demand for Southeast Asian laborers, particularly in manufacturing and construction. In addition, during the 1970s and 80s, western European governments allowed entry of temporary laborers from poorer countries to reduce labor production costs.

Mass temporary migration has thus become an integral part of the globalization of production and the economy. The International Labour Organisation estimates that in 1995, the number of documented migrant workers from Asian countries to the West and the Middle East as well as within the region had reached 10 to 15 million, and around half of these migrants were women.(2) These official figures do not include illegal migration, which would undoubtedly bring the figure much higher.

In many countries, more females than males leave home in search of work. However, available employment for women is often limited to low-paying and low-skilled jobs, including restaurant services, domestic work, and certain segments of the manufacturing industry. Others work in the entertainment industry. In 1995, for example, 60 percent of the 2.45 million documented contract workers from the Phillippines were women who migrated to work as domestics or entertainers.(3)

Government labor policies also promote exporting female labor, often for low-paying, low-skilled jobs. For example, Indonesia's five-year plans of 1990 and 1994 called for sending 500,000 women overseas to ease the problem of high unemployment rates. Eighty percent of those women went to the Middle East to work as domestic workers.(4)

Within Asia-Pacific, women typically migrate from poorer to richer countries. For example, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Taiwan have recently experienced labor shortages and have opened their borders to workers from countries such as Indonesia and the Philippines with large and growing labor forces.(5)

Other countries such as Thailand, which promote the export of skilled and nonskilled labor for manufacturing and mechanical industries abroad, have allowed the employment of migrant workers from neighboring countries to meet the labor demand of certain economic sectors. Thai fishing industry and rubber plantations, for instance, rely heavily on Burmese labor, while the construction sector employs many Burmese and Cambodian migrants, both legal and illegal.

While some countries such as Taiwan have eased legal restrictions on the immigration of workers, others such as Japan continue restrictive policies that limit the entry of legal, unskilled laborers. This has facilitated mass illegal migration, often for the underground domestic labor and prostitution industries.

While increasing numbers of women seek to migrate overseas for employment because of limited opportunities back home, many of them don't have sufficient information or appropriate or reliable channels to help them migrate and find work abroad. As a result, many women rely on arrangements offered by agents, often through an illegal channel. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Traffic in Women in Asia-Pacific
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.