Built On The Backs Of Their Neighbors: An Exploration Of Migrant Labor Practices In Southeast Asia
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The number of international migrant workers worldwide reached 244 million in December 2015. The emergence of globalization and its integrative nature has allowed individuals from around the world to travel and work in countries both near and far to their home country. While the prospect of a global economic market is exciting, worries arise as how best to protect these foreign workers in their host countries. The following thesis will focus on the migrant labor force in Southeast Asia, specifically that of Malaysia and Singapore. The two aforementioned countries, neighbors and cultural counterparts, have faced much public scrutiny regarding their treatment of their labor populations. In response, Singapore and Malaysia have taken varying steps to combat this issue, some effective and some not. In order to explore the effectiveness of each countries governmental response, an emphasis will be placed on two sectors of the migrant labor force: domestic service and construction. Both sectors will be evaluated and compared to one another in terms of their response to allegations of abuse. It will be shown that Singapore has taken more meaningful steps to protect the rights of their foreign labor population. However, improvement for both countries is still desperately needed.