TAJIKISTAN: Divorce Spurs Female Labour Migration – IPS ipsnews.net

Posted: May 28, 2012 in Human Rights, International, Politics, Region, Resources, Tajikistan, Women

Tajikistan’s dependence on remittances from labour migrants abroad is well-documented. Last year, Tajiks working in Russia sent home 2.96 billion dollars, the equivalent of 45 percent of the country’s GDP, according to the National Bank. That makes Tajikistan the world’s most remittance-dependent country.

The International Monetary Fund is projecting a 13-percent increase in remittance flows into Tajikistan this year. Over one million Tajiks, or roughly one out of every eight Tajik citizens, are estimated to work abroad as migrant labourers.

The share of Central Asian women going abroad to work is quickly growing. An analyst at the State Migration Service in Dushanbe estimates around 15 percent of Tajik labour migrants are now women. In 2003, his office said females comprised six percent of the migrant workforce.

“A mixture of poverty and increasing divorce rates in Tajikistan, which leave many women destitute, have contributed to this rise,” Natalia Bogdanova, Moscow-based rights activist and head of Migrant’s Rights, a non-governmental organisation, told EurasiaNet.org.

Like the men, many female Tajiks work abroad illegally. In December, Konstantin Romodanovsky, director of Russia’s Federal Migration Service, estimated that only 14 percent of the roughly 9.1 million foreign nationals working in the country had work permits, Russian media reported.

Without proper legal protections, Tajik migrants in Russia face threats arising from xenophobia, dangerous working conditions and hostile police. In 2011, Tajikistan received at least 818 boxes of “Cargo 200” – Soviet-era slang for coffins – from Russia, the Interior Ministry said in late December. Eighty-nine of the deaths were attributed to hate crimes.

Women face additional risks. “Most of the women work in domestic jobs, as cooks and cleaners. Many of them work here illegally,” Bogdanova said. “Many of them have very basic knowledge of Russian, leaving them open to exploitation, unsafe working conditions and blackmail.”

“We see cases in which women are promised jobs here and then forced to work for free, sometimes as prostitutes. …Crimes go unreported,” Bogdanova added, “because most women are not officially registered.”

via TAJIKISTAN: Divorce Spurs Female Labour Migration – IPS ipsnews.net.


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