Women make up approximately half of the 244 million migrants that work abroad, according to the United Nations. However, this group is among the most vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination according to a report by the Fair Labor Association (FLA).

Women migrant workers in South East Asia are especially vulnerable and routinely suffer from pregnancy related discrimination, as demonstrated by the FLA. In export economies like Malaysia, which attracts a large number of female migrants from South East Asia, laws allow pregnancy tests and the use of contraception as a condition of employment. Women who are caught pregnant while in employment can be legally deported and their contract terminated. 

This can make it challenging for female migrant workers who often financially support family members at home. To avoid deportation may workers resort to the informal workforce where labor laws are often ignored and abuses are common.

Pregnancy discrimination is all too common in South East Asian nations such as Thailand and Malaysia. As a result, the FLA has called for an end to these inequitable practices, while also urging brands to support and implement initiatives which prevent such discrimination. 

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Read the report by the FLA ‘Triple Discrimination: Woman, Pregnant, Migrant’