Blacklisted: the countries where Filipino servants are facing abuse
New ban on work where labourers are beaten – but families still rely on the money sent home
The Philippines, one of the world's biggest exporters of labour, has taken the bold step of blacklisting 41 countries which it says do not adequately protect foreign workers.
The ban, which applies to countries including India, Afghanistan, Libya, North Korea and Pakistan, was imposed following persistent reports of workers, particularly maids, being abused by their employers.
An estimated nine million Filipinos, or nearly 10 per cent of the population, work abroad, mainly as maids, labourers or seamen. Their remittances – hard currency earnings sent home to families – have traditionally kept the Philippine economy afloat.
Most of the countries on the blacklist have only a few hundred Filipino workers, so the ban will have a limited effect. However, the government is considering extending it to several Middle Eastern countries, where complaints of abuse and mistreatment are most common, the Labour Secretary, Rosalinda Baldoz,said. More than a million Filipinos work in the Middle East.
The blacklisting follows a temporary ban imposed by Cambodia last month on domestic workers being sent to Malaysia. Indonesia, for its part, recently announced that a two-year moratorium on its nationals working as maids in Malaysia will be lifted on 1 December.
The move by Cambodia follows reports of maids being starved, beaten and sexually abused by employers. Many complain that their passports are confiscated and their salaries withheld.
A report by Human Rights Watch this week said that after arriving in Malaysia, maids were forcibly confined in training centres for three months without adequate food, water or medical care.
The Philippines passed a law in 2009 which outlawed workers being sent to countries that had failed either to sign international conventions protecting foreign labour, pass their own laws offering such protection or reach bilateral agreements with the Philippines.
The 41 countries named by the Department of Labour and Employment as lacking such safeguards include Iraq, Sudan, Chad, Haiti, Cambodia and Zimbabwe. Carlos Cao, head of the government's overseas employment agency,said: "These are the smaller countries with small markets. The negative impact is not going to be very big."
The ban will not affect Filipino workers already in place in those countries, who will be permitted to stay until their contracts expire. Multinational companies with supposedly higher labour standards will be exempted from the ban, which will be lifted if countries take adequate steps to protect workers from abuse and allow them to seek help if they are mistreated.
Filipinos who want to work abroad have to obtain government approval, although some depart without going through official channels. John Leonard Monterona, from a group called Migrante, which campaigns for better protection for overseas workers, said the exodus amounted to "forced migration".
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
Renee Zellweger on plastic surgery: 'I'm living a more fulfilling life and I'm thrilled that perhaps it shows'
Kim Jong-un 'purge': Six North Korea officials missing for weeks 'may have been executed'
Diwali: What is the festival of lights – and how is it celebrated around the world?
Nathan Cirillo: Final pictures emerge of soldier moments before he was shot dead by Ottowa gunman
Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
£300 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: SSRS Report Developer – 3 Mon...
£95 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Birmingham: Key Stage 1 teacher require...
£32000 - £39000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Ashdown Group: Generalist HR Man...
£18000 - £30000 per annum + uncapped: SThree: Do you feel like your sales role...