TAKING BACK WHAT’S OURS: ACHIEVING JUSTICE IN
THE TIME OF COVID-19
Stories of Success and Empowerment of Migrant Workers
who experienced Wage Theft during COVID-19
10 DECEMBER 2021 (HUMAN RIGHTS DAY) | 6:30PM-8:00PM MANILA (GMT+8)
BACKGROUND
In June 2020, a coalition of civil society organizations and trade unions launched the
Justice for Wage Theft campaign working towards establishing an urgent justice mechanism
for migrant workers who experienced wage theft during COVID-19. This is after the volume
of wage theft cases drastically increased following forced terminations and repatriation of
workers without being paid their due salaries, allowances, and end-of-service benefits.
One of the major gaps within this issue is the lack of documentation both in the
countries of origin and destination, in which there were no measures in place to monitor and
record the situation of migrant workers being repatriated, such as rights violations and
abuse, including non-payment of wages. As part of the campaign, the co-launchers, together
with its key partners at the national and regional level have been consistently documenting
cases of wage theft as part of its evidence-based advocacy. These documented cases are
being consolidated and further developed into reports that aim to reflect and analyze
situations of wage theft experienced by migrant workers during COVID-19 and recommend
solutions such as measures and mechanisms that can further expedite and leverage migrant
workers’ access to justice during this time.
Alongside the development of analysis reports, partners of the campaign provide
further support to migrant workers who have come forward to report their cases, to assist in
reaching out to companies and claiming back their wages through the necessary legal
processes. While achieving justice during the pandemic has been a difficult feat for migrant
workers, there are still a number of successes among workers who have been able to claim
back the wages and benefits they were owed despite the challenges confronted. In
commemoration of Human Rights Day, Migrant Forum in Asia as part of the Justice for
Wage Theft Campaign’s series of December activities, is organizing a session highlighting
migrant workers and advocates stories of success in claiming back their wages as well as
stories of workers’ empowerment in their journey towards achieving justice amidst the
pandemic.

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