Impacts of COVID-19 on Returned Migrants and Garment Workers: Gender-based Violence and Harassment (GBVH) and Social Protection
Globally, the COVID-19 pandemic increased gender-based violence and harassment in the world of work. Even prior to the pandemic, in the garment sector, garment workers, particularly women garment workers, often experienced: forced overtime, threats of violence and verbal and mental abuses, gender discrimination, and limiting freedoms of association. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified GBVH for vulnerable groups of workers, and has led to the potential for vulnerable groups to experience GBVH, a deterioration in access to equitable services and support. Returned migrant workers (RMWs) in Thailand seem to encounter similar obstacles. They are at increased risks of infection and face social and economic challenges, and various forms of social discrimination in reintegrating into their communities. Social protection measures have been put in place to address the challenges that afflict those most vulnerable. However, there are considerable gaps and issues in the provision of social assistance and services for workers, including returned migrant workers and garment workers.
This project has its first aim to document the experiences of garment workers and returned migrant workers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic and to determine whether or not the pandemic increased workers' exposure to discrimination, violence, and harassment (including GBVH). Secondly, it aims to document experiences of access to social protection and to understand whether or not there are any links between worker's experience of discrimination and GBVH and their ability to access social protection.