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«М57 МИГРАЦИОННЫЕ МОСТЫ В ЕВРАЗИИ: Сборник докладов и материалов участников II международной научно-практической кон- ференции Регулируемая миграция – реальный путь сотрудничества ...»

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Economic Downfall and Labour Migration in Central Asia Although non-economic factors including ethnic migrations, forced migration, return migration have been important reasons for the migratory movements in the post-1989 Central Asia, labour migration remains a pivotal reason for primary migration (Tonelli, 2003). The economic dwindling, with the collapse of Communism and the consequent decline of the overall standards of life among general masses have not only intensified the pressure on labour migration, but the collapse of effective control along extensive land borders and an explosion in irregular miInternational Labour Organisation (2000) ‘World Migration Tops 120 Million, Says ILO’, press release, 2 March.

gration (see Marat, 2009). As Scott Randitz (2006) brings to lime light that economic factors entailing meagre pensions, the difficulty of finding employment, corruption and nepotism-proved decisive in migratory movement of people in Central Asia. Nevertheless, nationalism also influenced migration decisions, but only insofar as it affected people’s material well being.

Altogether, this phenomenon is said to have created an open corridor for uncontrolled transit migration between Russia, East Asia, the Middle East and Europe. Porous borders, poverty, mass unemployment and lack of resources to manage migration flows created new sources and markets for various kinds of traffickers (Jackson, 2006). Closely linked to this corridor is the rise in the involvement of organised crime, offering to smuggle migrants without visas and trafficking women and children (see GAATW, 2010).

Gender Stereotype, Migration and Social Security of Women in Central Asia Women constitute half of the world’s population, perform nearly two-thirds of the work, receive one-tenth of the world’s income and own less than one-hundredth of the world’s property (UNDP, 2003). Undoubtedly the matter is more serious in the context of Central Asia, where the process of feminization of poverty is intimately connected to the cultural and institutional limitations that put a ceiling on women’s involvement in economic activity. An old Kyrgyz saying ‘a frog-headed [stupid] man is better than a golden-headed [intelligent] woman,’ is tempting to suggest that the proverb reflects the overall attitude towards women in Central Asia (Saidazimova, 2005).

Women in Central Asia, thus for the most part, get less of the material resources, social status, power and opportunities for self-actualization than men do.

Global migration has further added to this relegation by leaving many women at risk. The left-behind women of Central Asia are one example, where the concern assumes special meaning in view of the fact that the incidence of women-headed households 8 is on the increase for various reasons in Central Asia (Mittra and Kumar, 2004: 202-3), entailing widowhood, separation, desertion, non-absorption of widowed daughters-in-law by husbands’ families. By all probability, I would argue that this scenario of women in Central Asia is more specifically due to high rate of male migration to Russia and other European countries. Although no study has extensively investigated how labour migration affects the women left behind.

However, as David Trilling (2009:84) exclusively demonstrates ‘single women are abundant in Tajikistan, where more than half the working-age male population is abroad,’ the left-behind women are more susceptible to social, mental physical insecurity. IOM’s (2011) Central Asia Operational Strategy 2011-2015, reveals that in Central Asia, labour migration of males has created a significant number of female-headed households. These households are more vulnerable to serious poverty                                                              United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT) (2008) report on State of the World’s Cities, reveals that in the cities of Central Asia, woman-headed households are almost the norm, rather than the exception.

and to social exclusion. In Kyrgyzstan, for instance the poverty and vulnerability rate among households headed by women is at 58.7 percent. To somewhat similarly in Kazakhstan, the poverty and vulnerability rate among households headed by women is at 31.3 percent. However, in Kazakhstan the data is of urban areas excluding rural, where rates might be much higher (Dang, 2009:41).

Abandonment of families is thus, a growing problem- men engage in labour migration, but do not return home, leaving their wives and children in poverty and hardship.9 Even some migrants return home, but having lost money, some fall prey to human traffickers. Particularly migrants from the Caucasus and Central Asia, who work in Russia are invariably paid less than locals (see European Commission, 2003), some dismissed at anytime without pay for any reason, and have no redress and still some like that:

Most Tajik migrants who die in Russia are not victims of racism, but of deadly accidents at the workplace. Every single train coming back from Russia carries coffins and mutilated people (Tajik sociologist). Poverty, Women Migration and the Risks upon Today, women constitute almost half of all international migrants worldwidearound 95 million (UNFPA, 2006). Equally in Central Asia, women comprise half of the (total between 60-90 percent) labour migrants from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, although most half of the female labour migrants are from Kyrgyzstan, travelling to Russia and Kazakhstan, which increased annually until 2008. Yet, despite their contributions to poverty reduction and struggling economies, it is only recently that the international community has begun to grasp the significance of what migrant women have to offer. And it is only recently that policymakers are acknowledging the particular challenges and risks women confront when venturing into new lands.

It is often said that migrant labour fills the ‘three-D’ jobs: dirty, degrading and dangerous. Research in Southern [and Eastern] European countries demonstrates the extent to which the migrants take jobs that the locals refuse. It is simply a matter of proxy (Reynieri, 2001) which arguably for the most part is substituted by women migrant, who therefore, comes at a cost.

In this backdrop, as discussed earlier that women in Central Asia get less of the material resources, social status, power and opportunities for self-actualization, the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, Supplementing the U.N. Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) identifies ‘poverty, underdevelopment, and lack of equal opportunity’ as some of the ‘factors that make persons, especially women, vulnerable to social and physical insecurity.’ In fact, poverty, and in particular the ‘feminization of poverty,’ is often identified as a risk factor for, or root cause of, trafficking. Undeniably in Central Asia one of the most common forms of trafficking in person concerns the trafficking of women for prostitution or sexual exThe phenomenon of women headed households is still understudied and Interview with a Tajik sociologist, Saodat Olimova, documented in: ICG 2003, p. 33.

ploitation. There is considerable evidence (see Castles, 2003;

Jackson, 2006;

Marat 2009) that human trafficking victims in Central Asia are often brought into their situation by recruiters- men or women, who promise jobs and financial stability to women in poverty. These recruiters, employed by traffickers, tend to be known to the victim, often taking the form of formerly trustworthy roles such as relatives or friends (Eason, 2011).

Thus under the label of job promise and financial stability, the trafficking of women in the former Soviet Union is rife. Such predicaments however, seem directly linked to the overall socio-economic, political and porous border scenario of these countries. For example in 2005 in Tajikistan an estimated 40 percent of the population was unemployed and 64 percent was living in poverty (Haarr, 2007:268). Roughly in the same and subsequent years, the most cases of families selling their virgin daughters to the Gulf States for $2,000-3,000 have been recorded in Tajikistan (Marat, 2009:39). Likewise the 2009 Trafficking in Person Report shows Uzbekistan as a source country of women and girls trafficked to USA, UAE, Japan, Israel and India etc (US Department of State). Scrutinizing the causes, poverty, unemployment and unawareness, and existence of organised crime rings are predominant in Uzbekistan and Central Asia at large. On the whole this phenomenon is found at the nexus of globalisation and migration in Central Asia.


Globalisation couples extra intricacy to the relationship between poverty, migration and trafficking of women in Central Asia, by fabricating uncertainty for women, who find it harder to support themselves and their families and are pressed to hunt for employment, even if beyond their borders. However, in seeking this, women are more likely to accept the greater risks in taking on more dangerous or precarious work, and in migrating under insecure conditions from rural areas to globalised urban centres and abroad. In those cases where the conditions under which migration occurs are dangerous, women may be more likely to be trafficked or at times used as channels of weapon smuggling, which needs to be perceived as a threat to global security, because it is often part of a larger phenomenon of illegal migration and transnational organized crime that is believed to threaten global governance and states around the world.


Castles, S. 2003. Towards a Sociology of Forced Migration and Social Transformation. Sociology, 37(1): 13-34.

Castles, S. and Miller, J. 2003. The Age of Migration. New York: Guilford Press.

Dang, R. 2009. Vulnerability to Poverty in Select Central Asian Countries. The European Journal of Comparative Economics, 6 (1): 17-50.

Eason, H. 2011. No Recourse Left: The Impact of Poverty on the Resilience of Women from the Migrant-Sending Countries of Central Asia to HIV/AIDS. Resilience:

Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Science and Humanitarianism, Volume 2, March, p. 86.

Edmunds, J. 2006. Migration studies: new directions? Ethnicities, 6(4): 555-564.

European Commission. 2003. Report on the Functioning of the Transitional Arrangements Set Out in the 2003 Accession Treaty. Brussels: EC.

GAATW (Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women). 2010. Beyond Borders:

Exploring Links between Trafficking, Globalisation, and Security. GAATW and International Human Rights Clinic, Center for Human Rights and Global Justice, New York University School of Law, Pp.46.

Haarr, R. 2007. Wife Abuse in Tajikistan. Feminist Criminology, 2 (3): 245-270.

IOM. 2011. IOM Central Asia Operational Strategy 2011-2015. International Organisation for Migration, Pp. 42.

Jackson, N. 2006. International Organizations, Security Dichotomies and the Trafficking of Persons and Narcotics in Post-Soviet Central Asia: A Critique of the Securitization Framework. Security Dialogue, 37(3): 299-317.

Kahanec, M., Zimmermann, K. 2008. Migration and Globalization: Challenges and Perspectives for the Research Infrastructure. Discussion Paper No. 3890. Germany:

IZA, DIW Berlin, Bonn University and Free University Berlin. Pp 2-6.

Mart, E. 2009. Labour Migration in Central Asia: Implications of the Global Economic Crisis. The Silk Road Studies Program, Institute for Security and Development Policy and Central Asia-Caucasus Institute. ISBN: 978-91-85937-57-8. Pp50.

Panda, R. 2009. Migration Remittances: The Emerging Scenario. India Quarterly:

A Journal of International Affairs, 65 (2): 167-83.

Radnitz, S. 2006. Weighing the Political and Economic Motivations for Migration in Post Soviet Space: The Case of Uzbekistan. Europe-Asia Studies, 58 (5):653-77.

S. Mittra, and B. Kumar. 2004. Encyclopaedia of Women in South Asia: Sri Lanka.

New Delhi: Gyan Publishing House, Vol. 5, Pp. 202-3.

Saidazimova G (2005) Women and power in Central Asia: The struggle for equal rights. Available at: http://www.payvand.com/news/05/dec/1239.html (accessed 12 June 2010).

Sanderson, M and Kentor, J. 2008. Foreign Direct Investment and International Migration: A Cross-National Analysis of Less-Developed Countries, 1985-2000. International Sociology, 23(4): 514-539.

Tonelli, S. 2009. Migration and Democracy in Central and Eastern Europe.

Transfer: European Review of Labour and Research, 9: 483-502.

Trilling, D. 2009. From Central Asia and Back. World Policy Journal, 26 (1):79.

UNDP (2003) Millennium Development Goals: National Reports. A Look through a Gender Lens. New York: United Nations.




В социально-экономическом развитии Таджикистана в годы суверенитета население страны столкнулось с новыми явлениями. Говоря иначе, переход от командно-административной системы управления к рыночной, охарактеризовался с развитием всех форм макроэкономической нестабильности, таких как, инфляция, безработица и стагнации производства, которые еще в предреформенном периоде считались чуждыми элементами. Все это в конечном итоге негативно воздействовало не только на экономическую систему, но и на социальную жизнь общества в целом. Среди этих явлений наблюдался также и бурный рост трудовой миграции населения, которая привела в конечном итоге к изменениям в социальной и демографической структуре национального хозяйства. Ради справедливости следует отметить, что в мировой истории миграция носила в себе и многих положительных моментов. Она поддерживала процесс мирового экономического роста, способствовала развитию государств и обществ и обогатила множество культур и цивилизаций. В современном мире миграция продолжает играть важную роль в национальных, региональных и мировых делах.

Наряду с положительными моментами миграция имеет также и отрицательные черты, которые в разрезе каждой страны могут быть либо разными, либо схожими друг с другом. По отношению Таджикистана к ним можно включить: во-первых, «утечку умов». Однако многие считают, что в Таджикистане среди мигрантов – ученых высокой квалификации (академиков, докторов, кандидатов наук, конструкторов), не очень много, но даже в случае, если её доля составит 10 % от общей массы, то это заметная невосполнимая потеря для научного потенциала страны. Во-вторых, ухудшение квалификационного состава работников отечественной экономики, то есть потери специалистов, по крайней мере, с высшим образованием и достаточно накопленным опытом работы. В-третьих, потере перспективных, умеющих работать на современной технологической базе и способных к самореализации трудовых ресурсов. Это выпускники вузов, студенты и аспиранты, которые в последние годы все чаще мигрирует из страны. В-четвертых, нарушение культурно-воспитательного состояния большинства семей, трудовых мигрантов и многое другое.

В отличие от развитых стран, переживших миграционный бум, в Таджикистане в годы реализации рыночных реформ тысячи людей стали вынужденными мигрантами, когда экономика страны переживала глубокий системный кризис, связанный с трансформационными изменениями.

Именно поэтому, специфика причин в отечественной экономике делает отечественную миграцию своеобразной и отличающей ее от условий развитых стран. В экономической литературе указано достаточно много причин развития миграционных процессов, начиная от закономерностей развития производства, потребностей, интересов, стремлений людей, до внешних стимулов и других. Однако, в постсоциалистическом пространстве Таджикистана главной причиной является в основном падение уровня жизни населения страны в годы реализации рыночных реформ.

Снижение уровня жизни населения Республики Таджикистан охарактеризовалось уменьшением реальной заработной платы, ухудшением питания, то есть сокращением потребления всех других материальных и духовных благ.

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