Thailand and the Philippines are major source countries of migrants looking to work abroad and so find better opportunities and higher incomes for themselves and their families back home.
More than 1 million Filipino and Thai migrants currently reside in Europe. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas Missions estimates that 954,000 Filipinos live on the continent of those 285,000 are permanent residents, 556,000 are temporary and 113,000 are undocumented/irregular migrants (2007). According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Thailand there are between 200,000 and 300,000 Thai migrants in Europe, many of whom are in an irregular status (2008).
In many European countries, Thai and Filipino women are among the largest group of women migrant workers, and they are heavily concentrated in the services sector, as waitresses, in entertainment venues 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 have experienced some of the worst forms of exploitation in Europe.
For the migrants, returning to one's home country is often a last option, taken only when conditions are completely untenable or when deportation is inevitable. When exploited migrants decide or are forced, to return they usually do so empty-handed and heavily indebted. They often face family and social difficulties such as stigma, physical and psychological after-effects and a lack of decent employment opportunities.
Going back – Moving on: Economic and Social Empowerment of Migrants including Victims of Trafficking Returned from the EU and Neighbouring countries targets Thai and Filipino returnees from the EU and neighbouring countries. It is funded by the European Union/EEC.
The project’s overall objective is to help reduce the labour and sexual exploitation of migrants, including victims of trafficking. To achieve this, work will focus on improving the capacities of countries of origin and destination, and enhancing coordination and referrals between them. It will support service providers so that they can deliver better, more comprehensive and coherent, assistance directly to returning migrants.
The project will involve stakeholders in Europe, Thailand and the Philippines using social dialogue and in-country and cross-border networking.
For further information please contact:
ILO Country Office for the Philippines (CO-Manila)
19th Floor, Yuchengco Tower
RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue
1200 Makati City, Philippines
Tel. +632 580 9900
Fax +632 856 7597
Ms Kusumal Rachawong
National Project Coordinator
ILO-EEC Migration Project
ILO-Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
United Nations Building
Rajdamnern Nok Avenue
Bangkok 10200, Thailand
Tel: +662 288 2233