Women migrant workers

ILO-FCDO Partnership Programme on Fair Recruitment and Decent Work for Women Migrant Workers in South Asia and the Middle East – Phase II (Nepal)

The Work in Freedom is an integrated programme to support mobility by choice among women and girls from destination countries (India, Bangladesh and Nepal) to decent jobs with safety and dignity of workers in destination countries (India, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman and Kuwait) through fair recruitment processes.

Programme context

For millions of poor or socially marginalized people in South Asia, migration is an important alternative to the realities of home. People move long distances in pursuit of jobs for varying reasons ranging from economic aspirations or loss of habitat resulting from processes of economic transformation, poverty, climate change, gender based violence or conflict. While some migrate internally, many also migrate abroad. For women and girls, especially of indigenous, Dalit or low-income backgrounds, the experience of further impoverishment and discrimination makes migration a viable option. While many are able to improve their livelihoods in cities at home or abroad, many also face exploitation by employers– practices that amount to forced labour.

Programme strategy

The Work in Freedom (WiF) programme is a ten year bi-regional programme which aims to reduce vulnerability to forced labour. It started with a first phase from 2013 to 2018 and is followed by a second phase from 2018 to 2023. The programme has adopted an integrated and targeted approach supporting mobility by choice among women and girls from South Asian countries of origin (e.g. India, Bangladesh and Nepal), more accountable recruitment pathways and better jobs with safety and dignity of workers in destination countries (e.g. India, Lebanon, Jordan, Oman, Kuwait) through multi-sectorial policy measures.

In Nepal, the programme is anchored to the ILO’s Decent Work Country Programme (DWCP) that set out broad parameters of ILO collaboration with its constituents in the country. During the second phase, the programme in Nepal is aimed to reach at least 100,000 women and girls through its direct interventions that support more informed and prepared migration both by directly targeting migrants and by working with groups and institutions that work with migrants.

Project objective and outputs

The overall aim of the programme is to reduce vulnerability to trafficking and forced labour of women and girls across migration pathways leading to the care sector and textiles, clothing, leather and footwear industries of South Asia and Arab States.

The programme will address key drivers and vulnerabilities of human trafficking, such as (a) gender and other forms of discrimination, distress migration and poor working and living conditions, through an integrated prevention strategy of (1) targeted social protection and empowerment, (2) fair recruitment practices and (3) and evidence based policy advocacy for decent work options.

Output 1: Women understand how to negotiate and take decisions that affect their lives especially in relation to accessing protections and entitlements, mobility and local or outbound employment.

Output 2:  Migrant women, men and children in targeted sectors enjoy better collective representation, support services, and recognition of their rights along the pathways of their migration.

Output 3: Employers and labour recruiters adopt more accountable recruitment practices along migration pathways based on international labour standards and are subject to better monitoring and enforcement.

Output 4: Advocacy work ensures that policy makers have improved knowledge and commitment to reform laws and policies to protect migrant worker rights.

Output 5: Improved analytical understanding of risks and vulnerabilities in the migration process leads to improved intervention measures and evidence bases.

Key partners

Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security (MoLESS)

National implementing partners

  • Ministry of Federal Affairs and General Administration, Provincial and Municipal Government Units of project Districts
  • Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB)
  • Civil Society Organizations
  • Trade Unions
  • Recruitment Agencies

Target groups

  • Potential Women Migrant Workers and returnee women
  • Women migrant workers in care and textiles, clothing, leather, and footwear industries (TCLFI) in destination countries/areas
  • Recruitment Agencies or intermediaries
  • Government Officials
  • Key stakeholders at national level

For further information please contact:

Mr Narendra Nadh Choudary Bollepalli
Technical Officer (Monitoring and Evaluation)
Tel.: +977 1 5555 777 Ext. 109
Email: bollepalli@ilo.org