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Foreign Ministry Voices Concern Over Migrant Workers

By Dagnachew Teklu, The Daily Monitor (Addis Ababa), 25 February 2001

Addis Ababa—A committee established under the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to monitor ways and means of trafficking of women [illegal migrant workers] has called for appropriate measures to curb it.

Addressing the two day national workshop opened yesterday at the Africa Hall under the theme of Trafficking of women from Ethiopia Ato Hassen Abdella, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs said that even though the government has adopted the Private Employment Agency Proclamation, there are still illegal agents who are sending young citizens to the Middle East.

Ato Hassen said that the office has so far issued two licences to two employment agencies. But only one of the two has begun its operation by sending 829 Ethiopian employees to Lebanon in according to the law of the land.

A follow-up report made by the committee which in January visited these migrant workers sent by the licenced agency, verified the welfare of the workers, Hassen said. The committee also launched a book which documented interviews made with total of 36 women who were living in the Gulf.

The report indicated that thousands of young women are vulnerable to physical and psychological torture, murder and sexual abuse. The report also indicated that during the last ¾ years, 67 cases of death was documented.

The workshop organized by the Women Affairs Bureau of the Prime Minister in collaboration with International Organization for Migration (IOM) has brought more than 100 governmental and NGOs representatives.