US urged to toughen protections for women in temporary work programs – Times of India

MEXICO CITY: The U.S. government should take stronger action to combat discrimination and sexual harassment in temporary work programs for migrants, a spokeswoman for Mexican women who complain about such abuses said on Thursday.
Although U.S. and Mexican governments have held meetings to address a petition filed last year, efforts have not gone far enough, the Center for Migrant Rights said.
“A year has passed with a lot of talk but little action,” CEO Rachel Michah-Jones told reporters at the unveiling of a report sent to Mexican authorities.
Thursday’s report describes some agricultural jobs that seem to exclude women and highlights allegations of sexual harassment they are subjected to at work.
“During my 13 years in this industry, I have seen many situations where women suffer,” said one of the women, Daria Hernandez.
In her work at a crab processing plant in Maryland, she added, she often saw a male supervisor touch and harass women before threatening to report them or send them to Mexico if they complained.
Last year’s petition called on Mexico to take action with US authorities under the US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which has stricter working conditions than the trade pact it replaced in 2020.
The U.S. Department of Labor and the Mexican Department of Labor did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
US and Mexican authorities have previously promised to protect the rights of migrant workers.
The Mexican government may request further investigation into a dispute resolution panel set up under the USMCA, Micah-Jones added.
One of those who signed during last year’s name collection was Adareli Ponce, who has worked at American chocolate and crawfish companies during a temporary program.
She said she had never heard of an agricultural job she applied for last year, although she later saw men employed for the same job and similar work.
“I have not seen a single woman given the same opportunity,” she said in the centre’s latest report, adding that many job advertisements for agriculture are aimed exclusively at men.


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