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With South Asia contributing over six million international women migrants, a report Monday said lack of information and proper documentation has been hindering their empowerment.

According to the report, which called for a sensitive policy discourse, in 2010 India was the third largest exporter of international female migrants after Nepal and Sri Lanka.

Analysing the situation of women migrants from South Asia to the Gulf region, the report by the UN Women and the V.V. Giri National Labour Institute said the women migration was likely to increase further.

“Post oil boom in the Gulf countries, there has been an increase in migration from South Asia. In diverse fields of healthcare, domestic workers, private sector, we see more and more migration happening, especially among women,” said Rakkee Timothy, co-author of the report.

“In the entire migration process, women are very vulnerable – not only in the destination country but in the country of origin also. Lack of extensive departure orientation programmes and gender sensitive migration policy are hindering woman’s empowerment,” Timothy added.

While major sending countries in South Asia were India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Pakistan and Bangladesh, the six major receiving Gulf countries were Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Among the Gulf countries, Saudi Arabia received the highest proportion of Indian migrants, the report that was released Monday said.

“Individualised work relationships in Gulf countries make women workers highly dependent on their employers. Domestic work remains outside the purview of labour laws, making women more vulnerable,” the report observed.

It recommended a sensitive policy discourse and coordinated regional interventions among many suggested solutions for lending power to the voice of women migrants.

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