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Rising number of Nepali women migrate to Gulf despite risks

On January 6, 2014

An increasing number of Nepali women are migrating to the Gulf states and Asia for work, despite exploitation and dangerous working conditions, according to data from Kathamandu-based women's organisation Maiti Nepal.

An estimated 25,051 women migrated to Malaysia, Japan and the Gulf in the 2013 fiscal year - a 9% increase on the previous year's figure.

Of them, 10,345 went  to the United Arab Emirates, 8,992 to Malaysia, 1,489 to Qatar, 349 to Saudi Arabia , 1,348 to Kuwait, 321 to Bahrain, 342 to Oman, 152 to Lebanon, and 222 to Japan.

The majority of women (66.3%) are involved in domestic work, 11.6% work in factories, 9.3% in restaurants, 7% in offices, 2.3% work as cleaners, 1.2% as labourers, 1.2% as nursing home staff and 1.2% work in shopping centres, according to Maiti Nepal.

However, Nepali women face grave risks overseas, a spokesperson for the organisation said:

“Most returnee female migrant workers were mentally, physically and sexually abused. They did not get promised jobs, were forced to work extra hours, and did not receive the promised salaries.”

(Source: Himalayan Times)

Today The Washington Post ran a story on the death of Pramila Dangol, a Nepali woman who died while working in Kuwait as a live-in maid for a local family. Dangol's family never knew the cause of her death. An official statement said that she had died from a 'lack of oxygen' while operating an air conditioning unit. However, her relatives suspect foul play. Because Dangol was an undocumented migrant, her family will not receive compensation.