Special Issue "Sexual and Reproductive Health of Female Migrants"

A special issue of Sexes (ISSN 2411-5118).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 15 January 2022.

Special Issue Editor

Dr. Maria Papadakaki
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Social Work, School of Health Sciences, Hellenic Mediterranean University, 71410 Heraklion Crete, Greece
Interests: sexual health; aggressive behaviour; domestic violence; migrant health; primary health care; safety research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Female migrants have been shown to run a higher risk of sexual and reproductive health problems, including sexually transmitted infections (STIs), sexual violence, as well as harmful cultural practices, such as female genital mutilation. They have also been shown to suffer higher perinatal and infant morbidity and mortality, unintended pregnancies and induced abortions, while they experience poorer pregnancy outcomes due to inadequate use of antenatal services. This vulnerability has been associated with sociocultural factors affecting health behaviors and healthcare uptake, as well as with life stressors such as separation from family, lack of social support, and low control over working and living conditions. Vulnerability is also linked to poor access to sexual and reproductive health services, including family planning, effective contraception, and safe abortion services.

Improving health outcomes for this vulnerable population necessitates a better understanding of the structural factors that put female migrants at risk of poor health outcomes. A better understanding of the facilitators and barriers faced by female migrants in addressing their sexual and reproductive health needs and utilizing services is also necessary. Innovative health promotion strategies and models of care that increase accessibility and quality of sexual and reproductive health services for migrants are warranted. Evidence-based interventions and prevention programs at societal, community, and individual level could offer valuable insights for policy making. Context‐specific examples placing emphasis on highly vulnerable groups (e.g., adolescents, disabled, pregnant) with particular relevance to the migrant reality are welcome.

Dr. Maria Papadakaki
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sexes is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • sexual health
  • reproductive health
  • female
  • migrant
  • refugee
  • healthcare
  • services
  • access
  • utilization
  • sexual violence

Published Papers (4 papers)

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Research

Article
A Qualitative Study of Female Migrant Domestic Workers’ Experiences of and Responses to Work-Based Sexual Violence in Cyprus
Sexes 2021, 2(3), 315-330; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2030025 - 07 Jul 2021
Viewed by 699
Abstract
Domestic workers face increased risk for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace but are often reluctant to disclose abuse or seek retribution. We report on a study looking at migrant domestic workers’ responses to sexual violence, reasons behind their responses, and factors [...] Read more.
Domestic workers face increased risk for sexual harassment and assault in the workplace but are often reluctant to disclose abuse or seek retribution. We report on a study looking at migrant domestic workers’ responses to sexual violence, reasons behind their responses, and factors enhancing or diminishing vulnerability to abuse. We carried out qualitative, in-depth, individual and group interviews with 15 female domestic workers from the Philippines and Sri Lanka working in the Republic of Cyprus. Descriptive thematic analysis was used to analyse data using QSR NVivo 10.0. Sexual violence against migrant domestic workers was reported to be rampant, particularly among women living with their employer. Perpetrators took advantage of women’s precarious legal, social, and economic circumstances to coerce women into a sexual relationship. All participants reported taking action to stop attacks despite the significant barriers they faced: racism and discrimination, social isolation, and hostile legal, labour, and immigration systems. Fear of losing their job, being deported, and facing racism and discrimination from the police were the biggest barriers to seeking retribution. Access to informational, e.g., legal, practical, and emotional support, facilitated positive outcomes following abuse, such as finding a new employer. Systemic racism, hostile labour and immigration systems, and lack of support increase risk of sexual violence and place barriers against accessing safe working spaces, protection, and justice. Women need to be informed of the risks involved in domestic work and empowered to identify abuse and access help and support when needed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual and Reproductive Health of Female Migrants)
Article
Migrants’ Sexual Violence in the Mediterranean Region: A Regional Analysis
Sexes 2021, 2(3), 305-314; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2030024 - 05 Jul 2021
Viewed by 536
Abstract
Migration in the Mediterranean region has increased greatly during the last years. Reports and studies reveal that violence and injuries among refugees and migrants is a common occurrence in the WHO Europe Region. Available literature indicates that sexual violence incidents take place: (a) [...] Read more.
Migration in the Mediterranean region has increased greatly during the last years. Reports and studies reveal that violence and injuries among refugees and migrants is a common occurrence in the WHO Europe Region. Available literature indicates that sexual violence incidents take place: (a) during the migratory journey to the host country, (b) while in detention centers, (c) once migrants have reached their destination, and (d) during the period in which a woman is subject of trafficking. This manuscript explores how sexual violence against refugee/immigrant women is presented in the international literature; a narrative review of the literature was conducted on the phenomenon of migration in the Mediterranean area, and specifically on sexual violence of migrant women. In order to face the challenges faced by migrant women victims of sexual violence, the following policies are suggested by international literature: (a) offer emergency medical and health care to sexual violence survivors, which is usually relatively limited, (b) offer mental health care and psychological support for sexual violence when planning services to provide clinical care, and (c) work towards the aim of transforming norms and values in order to promote gender equality and support non-violent behaviours. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual and Reproductive Health of Female Migrants)
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Article
Migrant Domestic Workers’ Experiences of Sexual Harassment: A Qualitative Study in Four EU Countries
Sexes 2021, 2(3), 272-292; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2030022 - 01 Jul 2021
Viewed by 592
Abstract
Sexual harassment against female migrant domestic workers is a public health problem, which remains hidden and largely underreported. The current paper presents the results of a qualitative research study on sexually victimized migrant domestic workers in four European countries (Austria, Cyprus, Greece, and [...] Read more.
Sexual harassment against female migrant domestic workers is a public health problem, which remains hidden and largely underreported. The current paper presents the results of a qualitative research study on sexually victimized migrant domestic workers in four European countries (Austria, Cyprus, Greece, and Sweden). The study aimed at exploring the profile and experiences of victimised individuals. Data were gathered via 66 semi-structured interviews with victimised female migrant domestic workers. Key findings of the current study indicate that the victims: (a) were usually undocumented and had low local language skills; (b) identified domestic work as the only way into the labour market; (c) suffered primarily psychological, economic, and social consequences; (d) had poor social support networks; (e) were poorly connected to governmental support services. This is the first study to explore this hidden problem via direct contact with victims. Addressing barriers of migrants’ social integration seems important. Better regulation and monitoring of this low-skilled occupation could minimise risks for vulnerable employees. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual and Reproductive Health of Female Migrants)
Article
Trauma Recovery of Greek Women Who Have Experienced Gender-Based Violence: A Narrative Research
Sexes 2021, 2(3), 256-271; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/sexes2030021 - 27 Jun 2021
Viewed by 462
Abstract
In a society where women still suffer from oppression and injustice, research on gender-based violence (GBV) and trauma recovery path is considered a priority. Specifically, it was to be researched how the social and cultural obstacles can affect the help-seeking behavior of Greek [...] Read more.
In a society where women still suffer from oppression and injustice, research on gender-based violence (GBV) and trauma recovery path is considered a priority. Specifically, it was to be researched how the social and cultural obstacles can affect the help-seeking behavior of Greek women who experienced GBV. The data of this qualitative research were collected through narrative interviews and the analysis was carried out with the thematic analysis. The significant findings of the research were that the feelings of the women changed through the violent relationship, with the feelings of betrayal, guilt, and shame dominating. Moreover, the relative network was not notably utilized, while it seems that the women who utilized their social network were helped to evolve. Additionally, the feelings of guilt and shame stood out as an obstacle to help-seeking behavior and the functionality of the women was reduced on multiple levels during the period in which they experienced gender-based violence. Finally, the physical symptoms of the women during that period, such as musculoskeletal pain, numbing, and gastrointestinal problems, evoke great interest. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sexual and Reproductive Health of Female Migrants)
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