Despite reaching stable growth in the number of female migrant workers, Vietnam has not yet paid due attention to their specific rights and demands, said a UN official.

Speaking at a seminar on empowering women migrant workers in Hanoi on March 11, Suzette Mitchell, Chief Representative of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), stressed that women are easily vulnerable to abuse in the countries where they work. The mass media can play an important role in detecting abuse and making it public when it occurs, she said.

According to Director of the Overseas Labour Management Department Nguyen Ngoc Quynh, the number of female migrant workers has continuously increased in recent years, accounting for 25-30 percent of the annual total of 80,000 guest workers.

Women sent to work abroad through unofficial channels face the risk of being exploited and abused or becoming the victims of human trafficking activities, he said.

At the seminar, experts, reporters and representatives of labour export businesses discussed policies, the real situation and measures to protect the benefit of female labourers when working overseas.

The seminar was the first activity of a project to empower women Vietnamese migrant workers implemented by the Ministry of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs with financial and technical support from UNIFEM.

The two-year project focuses on developing national policies and recruitment services in order to meet the demands and protect the legitimate rights of female Vietnamese guest workers.

The project is part of UNIFEM’s Regional Programme on Empowering Women Migrant Workers which is being implemented in six labour exporting countries, including Cambodia , Indonesia , Laos , the Philippines , Lebanon and Vietnam and by eight labour importers namely Malaysia , Singapore , Hong Kong , Thailand , Jordan, the UAE, Syria and Qatar./.