Migrants’ Rights: Female migrants and Domestic workers

Technical meeting within the framework of the Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment (MME. The ILO will address issues pertaining to challenges and initiatives of protection of the rights of female migrants and domestic workers as well as the Social Protection Floor Initiative.


The impacts of migration on development are becoming more and more present in policy debates at both regional and international levels. Issues pertaining to migrants’ rights are linked to the protection of lives and the dignity of migrants, where protecting their rights would contribute to their empowerment. The MME Partnership as a framework of policy discussions for AU and EU member states will provide, during a two-day meeting, an opportunity to discuss more accurately policy responses and best practices for protecting the rights of migrants. This meeting will gather AU and EU Member States, African Regional Economic.

Communities (RECs), International organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) advocating for migrants’ rights, and some private stakeholders. Participants will discuss ways and means to establish social justice for domestic workers and economic empowerment for female migrants.


In 2010, it is estimated that 46.8 per cent of the 19.2 million international migrants in Africa were female. Female migrant workers engaged in domestic services are one of the most vulnerable groups of migrant workers. In host countries, many female migrants are employed in relatively low-skilled jobs within the manufacturing, domestic service or entertainment sectors, often without legal status and little access to health services. They are often subject to exploitation and/or physical and sexual violence by their employers or clients. Migrant domestic workers have become increasingly important in the labour force of receiving countries and regions. Domestic work is one area where women receive little protection and low wages, despite its contributions to economic and social development. These women and girls often lack knowledge of their rights, further heightening their vulnerability due to the lack of national legal mechanisms recognizing or protecting their rights. Domestic workers

find themselves vulnerable to abuse in a system that leaves them with almost no effective legal protection. Labour laws often exclude domestic workers due to not being considered as employees. Furthermore domestic workers are also excluded from both

labour and social protection under other national laws. Consequently, they are often excluded from health insurance and other important social and labour protections.


  • Participants will depart with a comprehensive set of tools to a.) discuss the current legal and institutional framework for the protection of migrants’ rights; and b.) identify main challenges regarding the protection of human rights, including economic and social rights of migrants, especially female migrants and domestic workers, as well as their economic empowerment.
  • Participants will exchange experiences and best practices on existing frameworks for the protection of the migrants’ rights, including protection for domestic workers and economic empowerment of female migrants, as well.
  • Participants will discuss the improvement of the social integration of female migrants and domestic workers, in their receiving society, from the perspective of their human rights, including economic and social rights, and economic empowerment, in the context of new emerging challenges in contemporary migration.
  • Participants will identify potential cooperation initiatives in migration policies, exactly in the field of protection of the human rights of female migrants; social protection for female migrants and domestic workers; economic empowerment of female migrants; and decent work for domestic workers.

Expected outcomes

  • A deeper knowledge and understanding of the protection of migrants rights and its relevance in the debate on migration;
  • Identified potential initiatives for promoting cooperation between sending and receiving countries in the area of the protection of migrants’ rights;
  • Identified actions for enhanced Africa-EU cooperation on improving the protection of female migrants’ rights and social protection and decent work for and domestic workers, within the framework of the MME Partnership.


The meeting shall gather 50-60 participants from:

  • AU and EU states: migration policy makers, officials working on human rights;
  • African RECs;
  • International Organizations: UNWOMEN, ILO, IOM, etc.;
  • CSOs advocating for Migrants’ rights and legal and social protection for female migrants’
  • and domestic workers;
  • Recruitment agencies may be granted an observer-status.Technical meeting within the framework of the Africa-EU Partnership on Migration, Mobility and Employment (MME)