App offers lifeline to women migrant workers at risk from violence
Women migrant workers facing sexual harassment and violence were thrown a lifeline on Sunday with the launch of a new mobile app.
"Smart Domestic Workers" is the fruit of collaboration between UN Women and Thai NGOs including the Foundation for Labour and Employment Promotion.
Foundation secretary-general Boonsom Namsomboon said 80 per cent of female migrants face sexual violence, but very few file complaints to the police.
"The Smart Domestic Workers app will definitely bring positive change [for female migrants]," she said.
She said the app provides users with ways to protect themselves from violence in four languages – Thai, English, Burmese and Khmer.
The app can be used to search for hospitals, police stations and other related agencies near their residences.
"In addition, related agencies' hotlines are available on the app," she added.
Melissa Alvarado, UN Women Asia-Pacific Regional Adviser on Ending Violence against Women, said 24 per cent of Thai women had faced sexual or physical violence from their spouse but were afraid to seek help from police.
However, she added that female migrants are at far higher risk, with 80 per cent experiencing at least one form of violence but reluctant to report it out of fear of arrest or being deported.
"We hope that the Smart Domestic Workers app will be helpful and meet female migrants' needs for help," she said.
Dararai Raksiripong, a representative from the Migrant Women Project in Tak's Mae Sot district, added that violence against female migrants was rising in the post-Covid era due to factors such as income loss and lockdown measures that triggered family issues.