A large number of unskilled women from least developed countries engage in international migration as domestic workers. Although the transnational migration experiences of these women could potentially be empowering, women migrants are vulnerable to exploitation. This paper explores the migration experiences of Ethiopian women who migrate to Arabian Gulf countries as domestic workers under the kafala labor sponsorship system and how they cope with their traumtic experiences upon return to Ethiopia. Forty-eight women Ethiopian former domestic workers who had returned from Arabian Gulf countries participated in this study. The study found that both women migrants who live with their sponsor/employer and those who run away from their sponsor/employer are exposed to various forms of racialized, gendered and economic exploitation at different stages of the migration process. The study also found that upon returning to Ethiopia, these women use sense-making and benefit-finding strategies to cope with their multiple exploitation experiences.
- domestic workers
- Ethiopian women return migrants
- Coping strategies