Plan to end exploitation of women expanded

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 10 May, 2005, 12:00am

A project to prevent trafficking of female migrants is embraced by five provinces

A project aimed at ending workplace exploitation of girls and young women has spread to five provinces, as the push continues for the central government to make it a national policy.

The project, backed by the International Labour Organisation and various levels of provincial governments and NGOs, started last May. It has been introduced in three regions which are main sources of migrant labourers - Henan, Hunan and Anhui - and Jiangsu and Guangdong, where many migrants are employed.

Chen Yongling, the national project co-ordinator, said the four-year project was aimed at showing the government that the trafficking of women and children could be greatly reduced.

'At the end of the project we would like to be able to advise policymakers that a national prevention framework should be set up. The government capacity [in this field] is important,' Ms Chen said.

With the establishment of five offices throughout the regions completed, the project is moving into the intervention stage. Staff will educate not only target groups but government officials and local communities.

Girls and young women 'often migrate at lower ages than men and with lower education levels. In particular, most of those [who are] uninformed and ill-prepared go to non-registered recruitment agencies which put them at high risk of ending up in situations of labour exploitation, including sexual exploitation', Ms Chen said.

The mainland has 150 million surplus labourers in rural areas and it is estimated that about 100 million farmers have migrated annually over the past two years.

The rate of female migrant workers is rising each year and sources in the Ministry of Public Security have confirmed an increase in the number of cases of trafficking into the 'entertainment' sector, in particular girls in the 16-to-20 age group, according to a report by the project organisation.

From 2001 to 2003, authorities investigated more than 20,000 cases of trafficking in children and women, Xinhua has reported.

'It is necessary to build a national prevention system. We have found that previously it was only the Ministry of Public Security engaged in fighting the trafficking. However, the more crackdowns [there are], the more cases emerge,' Ms Chen said.

Yu Jiajia , a provincial project co-ordinator in Jiangsu, said the government should improve facilities for migrants.

'While governments have done a lot, the facilities are not user-friendly to migrants. They still don't know where to get employment information and where to turn when they are in trouble.'