Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

March-30-98

Foreign Workers in U.S. Face Forced Prostitution, Forced Abortion

Foreign workers on a U.S. island territory are suffering from women’s rights and human rights abuses, according to a report by the U.S. Department of the Interior. Undercover agents interviewed more than 400 workers in the U.S. territory, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI), made up of islands between Hawaii and the Philippines.

Workers from foreign countries are lured to the CNMI with promises of high paying jobs on U.S. land to work as “foreign guest workers.” The close to 37,000 registered workers, are frequently brought into the territory by “recruitment scams.” They pay thousands of dollars to attain jobs that pay less than they were promised or do not exist. U.S. human rights advocates and officials have said that the system benefits foreign garment manufacturers, brothel owners and other employers.

The report included accounts of rampant trafficking of minors from the Philippines and China for forced prostitution, and of the importation of more than 100 Russian women for work in brothels.

Several foreign women garment workers stated that their employers ordered them to have abortions or face losing their jobs. Investigators concluded that garment manufacturers force abortions because they do not want to be liable for the extra cost of lost productivity during pregnancy and childbirth.

Despite his strong anti-abortion views, House Majority Whip Tom Delay (R-Tex.) has continued to express his support for the garment industry’s importation of foreign workers. According to a Washington Post article, Delay praised the “system” as one of the “leading lights of free market success,” and “said he favors creating a similar guest worker program for Mexicans in the United States, with no minimum wages.”

Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.), who recently visited the CNMI, is calling on Attorney General Janet Reno to take action against the “foreign guest workers system,” because it “violates federal law by holding deeply indebted workers in various forms of indenture.”

Interior Secretary Bruce Babbit, Rep. Miller, and four workers from the island will testify at a Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources hearing this Tuesday that will consider a proposal to impose federal immigration and minimum-wage laws in the territory.

Media Resources: Washington Post - March 30, 1998


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/22/2014 Students Protest Fordham University's Anti-Birth Control Policy - Students at Fordham University are engaged in a battle against the New York City Catholic school's anti-birth control policy. Students for Sex & Gender Equality and Safety (SAGES) has launched a petition drive, calling on Fordham to provide free and confidential access to birth control and STI testing on-campus, free condoms, professional gynecological services at the university, and resources for pregnant women, among other things. . . .
 
10/22/2014 Doctors Warn That Measure 1 Would End In Vitro Fertilization in North Dakota - Doctors at North Dakota's only clinic offering in vitro fertilization (IVF) are speaking out to warn voters that Measure 1, a proposed personhood amendment in the state, would make the practice illegal. Dr. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Afghanistan's New First Lady Advances Women's Issues - Just a few days after moving to the presidential palace, Afghanistan's new First Lady Rula Ghani said that she hopes to encourage greater respect for women. Rula Ghani already broke tradition by participating in her husband, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's, campaign for President. . . .