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

9/12/2014 Violence Against Women Act Turns 20 - Saturday will be the 20th Anniversary of the groundbreaking federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Passed in 1994, VAWA was the first piece of federal legislation to specifically address domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes and to provide federal funding to improve local response to violence against women, including training and resources for law enforcement and judges. President Barack Obama on Tuesday issued a proclamation commemorating the VAWA anniversary. . . .
 
9/12/2014 Indiana Woman Charged With Feticide For Premature Delivery - An Indiana woman has been charged with feticide after she delivered prematurely and sought hospital treatment. Purvi Patel, 33, sought help at an emergency room for vaginal bleeding where it was discovered that she had delivered prematurely at home. . . .
 
9/11/2014 Missouri Legislators Pass 72-Hour Abortion Waiting Period Law - Missouri legislators voted late last night to triple the state's current 24-hour waiting period to 72 hours, with no exceptions for rape or incest. Governor Jay Nixon previously vetoed the bill in July, calling it "extreme and disrespectful." Missouri's House voted 117-44 to override the veto, and then the Senate used a procedural move to stop a Democratic filibuster of the bill and vote 23-7 to complete the veto override Wednesday. "The only purpose of a 72-hour waiting period is to attempt to punish, shame, and demean women who have arrived at a personal decision that politicians happen to disagree with," said the president and CEO of the Center for Reproductive Rights in a statement. . . .