Dear Friends,

Thank you for your solidarity and good wishes following the September 19 earthquake in Mexico City. Our team is safe and so grateful for your support.

Three-City Tour to Launch Our New Report on Gender Inequality

We launched our new report! “Engendering Exploitation: Gender Inequality in U.S. Labor Migration Programs” details the deeply entrenched gender bias in temporary labor migration programs – and how to solve it!

The report was co-authored by our allies at the University of Pennsylvania Transnational Legal Clinic in consultation with members of the Comité de Defensa del Migrante.

CDM accompanied four courageous worker leaders who shared their stories in New York, Baltimore and D.C. where we hand-delivered our report to the office of Representative Luis Gutierrez and to Commissioner Charlotte Burrows of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Meet The Worker Leaders:

Adareli Ponce Hernandez has worked in the US under the non-agricultural guest worker program for over a decade. Adareli is an active member of our Migrant Defense Committee, a group of migrants’ rights activists in Mexico.
Lissette Marquez Pacheco started working for a major cruise company right after graduating from college. She was hoping to go on an adventure but instead found a nightmare. Lissette is now committed to advocating for improved conditions for all cruise ship workers.
Mayra was recruited by an influential family in Mexico City who took her to their home in Miami, where she was mistreated and threatened by her employers. After a visit to Mexico, Mayra decided to challenge her employers and fight for fair labor conditions.
Barbara Reyna was a victim of the obscure and bureaucratic recruitment system for au pairs. Barbara was unfairly sent home and unable to use the J-1 visa she had paid for. Barbara decided to fight back against the recruitment agency and won.

Meeting with advocates, policymakers, media, migrant workers, and other allies,  the worker leaders spoke out about systemic abuses that migrant worker women face. They sparked discussions about recruitment abuses, workplace rights violations, access to justice, and oversight over these programs.

Their message was clear: addressing rampant abuses in labor migration programs requires a worker-centered approach with a gender perspective.

In Baltimore, with Senator Susan Lee (Montgomery County District 16) in attendance, they helped kick off CDM’s campaign to reintroduce legislation to protect Maryland-bound migrant workers from recruitment abuse and trafficking.

During a live-streamed  event moderated by the Ms. Foundation for Women’s Aleyamma Mathew, the panelists released a Policy Brief and accompanying packet of Worker Stories – highlighting issues reported by women working in the U.S. across a variety of visas and industries, including sex-based discrimination, recruitment fees, recruitment fraud and lack of transparency, isolation, wage and hour violations, unequal access to childcare benefits, trafficking, and barriers to justice.


Over just three days, we put the issue of gender inequality in migrant worker programs  in front of policymakers, allies, and the media. With the help of our worker leaders and our co-authors, we’re confident we can bring about change.

Thank you to everyone who came to our events and met Barbara, Mayra, Lissette and Adareli.

Please read and share our new report!

Our report and the stories from our worker leaders show just how much work needs to be done to solve gender inequity in these migrant worker programs. And we will – thanks to your support! Donate to CDM’s efforts now!

Don’t Miss CDM on

We’re featured in the PBS nationwide broadcast of “Farewell Ferris Wheel”, a documentary about Maryland’s carnival industry. It will be streaming for free on for the next month – check it out here.

In Solidarity,

Rachel Micah-Jones
Executive Director
Centro de los Derechos del Migrante, Inc

P.S.  You want to urge the Trump Administration to preserve migrant worker protections in the NAFTA renegotiation? Take action here.