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Virginia N. Sherry, associate director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, is the author of this report.  It is based on her fieldwork in India and the Philippines in November and December 2003 as well as supplementary research.

The report also includes testimony of migrant workers from Bangladesh who recently worked in Saudi Arabia. Habibur Rahman, a consultant to Human Rights Watch, conducted these interviews in Bangladesh in 2003 and 2004.  Nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in India, Indonesia, and the Philippines were instrumental in helping Human Rights Watch move forward from our research proposal to a completed project.  It was the responsiveness, forbearance, and continuing support of these NGOs that made this report possible.

Mukundan C. Menon, secretary-general of the nongovernmental Confederation of Human Rights Organizations of Kerala (CHRO), carried out advance work for this report in Kerala state in India in 2003 as a consultant to Human Rights Watch.  He accompanied Ms. Sherry in Kerala in November and December 2003, and served as an indefatigable interpreter and logistician.  Human Rights Watch acknowledges his efforts with deep appreciation and those of his CHRO colleagues throughout the state, who helped arrange meetings with returned migrant workers and families of Keralites who were executed or are still imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

In the Philippines, nongovernmental migrant rights organizations worked closely with Human Rights Watch to facilitate field research there. We owe particular debts of gratitude to Kanlungan Center Foundation and Migrante International.  Mary

Lou L. Alcid and Maya Bans of Kanlungan, and Marrz Balaoro of  Migrante International, deserve special mention for their support of the project prior to and during our visit to the Philippines. We also extend our thanks to Ellene Sana of the Center for Migrants Advocacy;  May-An Villalba of UNLADKA; Noel Josue of Kaibigan;  and Rev. Fr.  Savino L. Bernardi, C.S., and Sr. Adelina Terrado, D.C., of the Episcopal Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.   We also thank Gloria, who was employed in Hong Kong for twenty-three years as a domestic worker, and her husband Reuben, for opening their home in Naguilan to us for several days and providing generous hospitality and care.

In Indonesia, Carla June Natan and Marina Sinaga of the Center for Indonesian Migrant Workers, Jakarta, supported this project from its inception, and generously provided information and assistance in reply to our numerous requests. Wahyu Susilo of KOPBUMI and Pande K. Trimayuni also supported this project and were consistently encouraging and helpful.

Human Rights Watch is most indebted to the migrant workers and their families in Bangladesh, India, and the Philippines who opened their homes, gave generously of their time, and shared their stories with us.  Their credible voices are the foundation of this report.  


This report was edited by Widney Brown and Joe Saunders, deputy program directors at Human Rights Watch, and reviewed by Wilder Tayler, legal and policy director of Human Rights Watch.  LaShawn Jefferson and Farida Deif, executive director and researcher, respectively, of the Women’s Rights division of Human Rights Watch, reviewed Chapter IV and pertinent sections of Chapter VII and provided valuable comments.   Leila Hull, associate in the Middle East and North Africa division, Andrea Holley, publications director for Human Rights Watch, and Fitzroy Hepkins, mail manager, made possible the production of this report.

<<previous  |  indexJuly 2004