On March 23, 2021, Maritza Perez and Adareli Ponce filed the first-ever petition against the U.S. under the USMCA in a pivotal moment for the fight to end gender discrimination against migrant worker women on temporary labor migration programs. The petition was signed by a binational coalition of allies led by CDM.

Migrant worker women are denied jobs, channeled into lower-paying roles and exposed to gender-based violence at their workplace. They’ve fought for justice, demanding the U.S. government put in place enforcement measures that ensure equity and dignity for migrant worker women.

Maritza and Adareli and dozens of allies are calling for the Mexican and U.S governments to live up to their obligations under the trade agreement.

Read the complaint below:

Update: March 31, 2022

We welcomed promises from U.S. officials to resolve this complaint by centering migrant women’s priorities and incorporating their recommendations. But after 373 days without any concrete policy changes, those promises seem void. The government’s failure to act perpetuates violence for women across borders.

That’s why on March 31, 2022, we filed additional evidence including worker testimonies and several examples of discriminatory job ads. This supplement highlights the abuse women have faced: sexual violence in their workplaces, constant denial of access to work opportunities in the US, and lower wages than their male counterparts. These women are courageously sharing their stories to demand tangible and immediate changes.

If serious about its commitment to uphold the rights of workers and women of color, the U.S. government will resolve our complaint in a comprehensive and inclusive way that effectively addresses systemic sex discrimination.

Update June 4, 2021

Dozens of leading human rights scholars across Mexico, the United States and Canada filed a supplement supporting Adareli and Maritza’s complaint to highlight additional arguments under international law regarding the US government’s obligations to ensure migrant worker women’s rights to equality and nondiscrimination. These rights are enshrined in the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and its Follow-Up and reflect other regional and international human rights norms.

Listen to Maritza, Adareli and allies discuss how they’re using the USMCA to end gender-based discrimination against migrant worker women:


Spread the word about the fight for migrant worker justice! Click the icons below to share details on social media and via email!