Going back – Moving on: Economic and Social Empowerment of Migrants including victims of trafficking returned from the EU and neighbouring countries

In many European countries, Thai and Filipino women are among the largest group of women migrant workers. They are heavily concentrated in the services sector, as waitresses in restaurants, and in entertainment venues, (including sex-establishments) and as domestic workers. Given their occupational profile and the irregularity of their employment status, it is not surprising that many Filipino and Thai migrant workers, especially women, have experienced some of the worst forms of exploitation in Europe.

In Southeast Asia, Thailand and the Philippines are major source countries of migrants seeking foreign employment to increase opportunities for better income for themselves and their families back home. Nearly a million Filipino and Thai workers currently reside and work in Europe. Philippine overseas missions estimate that 530,989 Filipinos (as of June 2006) are working and living in Europe, 15 per cent or 80,553 are in irregular status. Estimates of Thai migrants in Europe vary between 200,000-300,000, many of them are likewise in irregular status.

As part of an overall Asia Regional Labour Migration Programme, the ILO is implementing this EU-funded project, targeting migrants returning home from EU and neighbouring countries. The project’s overall objective is to contribute to the reduction of labour and sexual exploitation of migrants through the improvement of return and reintegration programmes. It aims at strengthening transnational cooperation between countries of origin and destination, improving direct assistance in both Europe and Asia, as well as strengthening coordination and referral mechanisms

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