"There is an urgent need for promoting safe migration for women migrant workers, in particular domestic workers, who constitute a highly vulnerable and socially sensitive group," said a Unesco report on social inclusion of internal migrants in India released Thursday.
The report by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation says gender perspective on internal migration is imperative, but missing.
Marriage is given by women respondents as the most prominent reason for migration. However, many get engaged in economic activities, but it is generally not recorded.
"Women migrants, especially those in lower-end informal sector occupations, remain invisible and discriminated against in the workforce. Female migrants are less well represented in regular jobs and are more likely to be self-employed," the report says.
However, they are paid lesser than male migrants and don't have facilities like maternity leave, other maternity entitlements, or breast-feeding breaks at worksite.
Lack of access to proper sanitation has serious health consequences but women and girls suffer in silence because of the stigma around women's personal hygiene issues.
"Gender-related violence is another critical issue as these women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and abuse, especially in the hands of agents and contractors ... Poverty may cause women migrants to get pushed into sex work at the destination," the report said.