Flash mob participants pose for a picture. Photo: Miliana Gracy Trixie/ Facebook

Migrant workers staged a flash mob dance performance in Taipei, Taiwan, on Sunday, calling for an end to sexual violence against female workers and making six official demands for improving the working conditions of women in the island country.

Around 135 Indonesian and Filipino workers gathered at the Taipei Main Station and delivered an energetic performance under the theme “Rising for a Better System”, which echoed the “One Billion Rising” movement started by American feminist Eve Ensler, the Central News Agency reported.

Gilda Banugan, the chairperson of the Taiwan Chapter of Migrante International (Migrante Taiwan), said that despite annual campaigns, neither regulations nor the environment for female migrant workers in Taiwan had made much progress in recent years.

Female migrant workers, particularly those who are domestic workers, face extra work every day and cases of verbal, physical, and sexual assaults remain common, with no signs of a downward trend.

Banugan also voiced six major demands on behalf of her group. Domestic caregivers should be included under the Labor Standards Act, protected by labor insurance and included in the national long-term care system. They should also be entitled to paid leave.

The government should step up efforts to end illegal costs imposed by employment agencies, and make employers to pay overtime if workers are not given a full 24 hours’ free time on non-working days.

Regarding Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu’s recent controversial remarks during which he publicly referred to Filipina workers as “Marias,” Banugan said his disrespectful comment upset many of the migrants, who spend their youth and time working in Taiwan, taking care of the elderly, the infirm, and family members of Taiwanese people.

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