EMPOWERING MYANMAR DOMESTIC WORKERS IN THAILAND
For the past four years, Myint has spent her Sundays – her only day off – taking an English course and meeting other domestic workers from her home country of Myanmar who are also residing in Thailand. As she interacts more with the group, she hears more about the plight of her peers. ‘Many domestic workers are working long hours, seven days a week,’ Myint said. ‘Some had their travel and personal identification documents withheld by their employers. With the COVID-19 pandemic, some have even experienced gender-based violence while confined at home during lockdowns.’
She now volunteers to help other migrant domestic workers from Myanmar learn about their rights and available services that they can access. ‘I started to organise meetings and discussions informally to provide information about labour laws in Thailand, conditions of employment, minimum wage, working hours, leave days, rights to keep one’s own legal documents, and termination rules for domestic workers. I believe that it is very important to empower migrant domestic workers, and that we share knowledge and experience,’ Myint added.
Myint is one of over 3 000 women migrant workers supported under the Safe and Fair Programme, as part of
“I believe that all women migrant domestic workers should be able to exercise their rights,” says Nan Zar Ni Myint.
the EU-UN Spotlight Initiative. Implemented by the ILO and UN Women, the Safe and Fair programme is working to support migrant domestic workers in Thailand and across the ASEAN region through peer networks. From 2018 to 2021, Safe and Fair supported 3 210 women migrant workers organise into workers’ unions, associations and peer networks, and facilitated the formation of one new migrant domestic workers’ network. Within the same period, 54 436 women migrant workers received information on safe and fair migration through peer networks supported by the programme.