«You know, when I was working for that elderly lady, she couldn’t go to the toilet alone alright? So, you have to help her wipe her bottom, this kind of things. I know it sucks, but you get used to it… and when you do such kind of work, you think of your family back in the Philippines. I did it for their future, thinking about the future… you have to make a lot of sacrifices, to make their life beautiful»[1].

You think of your family back in the Philippines. This is what Michelle did when she arrived in Italy more than twenty years ago and began to work in a household for a ninety-year-old Italian woman. More than 10 million people all over the world[2] make the same sacrifices and have the same thoughts. They are migrant domestic workers.

This research aims at outlining some of the issues that migrant workers of the domestic field have to deal with. The act of migrating implies the crossing of a border, being the latter commonly thought in a geographical way, as the line that divides two places. Through the words and experiences of Michelle, Sorina, Josie, and Pedro, it will be possible to perceive the emotional side of the concept too, as present and concrete as the geographical one. To migrate is to physically move from a place to another, and such an action involves profound changes in a person, who has to take drastic decisions and to face obstacles, sacrifices and separations, and whose life gets transformed by the encounter with a different culture, its people and their customs.

Domestic work is any kind of “work performed in or for a household”[3], which, in most cases, means being a cleaner or taking care of the not-self-sufficient individuals. These two types of job, and the domestic field in general, are included in the wider category of “care work”. This term covers a wide range of duties and responsibilities which have always been, and in most cases still are, thought to be natural prerogatives of women, and which, as such, are easily undervalued from the social point of view and in terms of remuneration.

All around the world, and particularly in the wealthy side of it, care work is acquiring more and more importance. Populations are growing older and older and women are increasingly emancipating from the centuries-old, naturalized, sexual division of labor which relegated them in the household. However, despite the achievements obtained by women through their struggles over the past decades, it is not easy to name a place in the world where gender equality and a total emancipation from many burdensome cultural chains have been completely reached.

With very few exceptions, no woman in the world is free from her imposed care burden. Anyway, situations vary enormously from one country to another.

In the last three decades, international migration has grown dramatically[4]. There are numerous motivations for people to migrate, and the necessity to gain a better wage to guarantee a decent living for themselves and those surrounding them is undoubtedly one of these.

According to ILO data, in 2015, 75% of all migrant workers in the world (112 million of people) were living in high income countries[5]. Nearly half of all the international migrant workers are women[6].

In some countries, like Southern European ones for example, an ever-growing percentage of women is working outside the house, but their “absence” from the household isn’t matched by a decrease in the need for care, on the contrary, and at the same time state aids are undergoing cuts[7].

As a consequence of what has been said above about the continuous necessity for care work, about the supposed inherent inclination of women to “take care of”, and also due to the evident difficulty that a woman, especially if migrant, finds entering the labor market, one of the solutions that female migrants can find more easily in destination countries is to “replace” women in their households.

On a global scale, despite the growing demand for care workers, 80% of the latter remain in informal employment[8].

Of all the migrant domestic workers who walk the earth, three quarters are women[9].

Italy represents an interesting case: a large number of women, with the highest percentages in the northern and central regions of the country, work outside the household, and thus have no possibility to look after elderly relatives or pre-school-aged children. Very little support comes from local authorities, in terms of old people’s homes or public assistance, so the only way to keep things together is to turn to external workers, who represent, in the words of Amelita King-Dejardin (ILO publication), “The less visible segment of care economy”[10].

Among the nearly two million domestic workers in Italy, of whom more than half[11] works without a regular contract and is invisible to the state and its provisions, 70% comes from outside national borders. 40% of non-Italian domestic workers comes from the Eastern Europe macro-region, and other important countries of origin are the Philippines, Peru and Ecuador. Around nine out of ten of these home-based workers (solely those with a regular employment, the only ones that institutions can statistically analyze), half housekeepers, half caregivers, are woman[12].

Push factors

 

«When the Soviet Union collapsed, we had to provide for ourselves, to our family economy. Banks closed, our husbands lost their job and then us women had to think about… knowing that in Italy there was need for female labor (…), Italy had this welfare problem, the lack of caregivers. I left with the idea of coming here, staying for one year, because I had a child back home… [I make] money to buy a flat and then I come back. But instead, I’ve been here for eighteen years now»[13].

As above mentioned, one of the principal motivations that push people to abandon their normal life and migrate is the need for better working conditions, or, more simply, for basic working opportunities. In countries with a recent history characterized by high emigration trends, there are often high percentages of unemployment, low wages, poor social security systems. Millions and millions of people (those who make it) leave for wealthier countries, with the awareness that most probably they will have to struggle to find a job that in all likelihood won’t reflect what they have studied for and were trained in.

«Living in Romania was very difficult, even if I had a job and even if my ex-husband had one too. But with two little children we didn’t make it, our salary was very low and living costs high (…) And so we left, my husband left first, to earn better, and then I left too»[14].

Sorina, a middle-aged Romanian, arrived in Italy in 1999. With the fall of Romania’s communist government and the parallel dissolution of the Eastern Bloc after 1989, life in her country transformed completely. She had been working for fifteen years in an explosives factory, but in a short time everything changed and the field where she worked until then practically closed. Thousands of high-qualified workers, who had been formed to fit in a professional and economic system that suddenly ceased to exist, found themselves in a political and economic storm. After the collapse of her workplace, Sorina worked for a year as an assistant in the institute where her husband was an electrotechnics professor, but then both of them decided to try and go to a higher income country, since frontiers were mainly open, after decades of total national isolation.

After twenty years and many different jobs in Italy, from doing the cleaning in a hotel in Tuscany to getting back to work in a factory in Verona, today Sorina lives in the house where she works, housekeeping and assisting an elderly woman and her daughter, near Florence. She is available for every necessity they might have in the morning and for a few hours in the evening too. In her free time, she likes to read and take walks in the countryside in her area.

Difficulties and silver linings

 

The most common initial obstacle for a migrant worker is tied to the first impact with the life in a new country: language, monetary system, cultural differences; these are only three examples of the universe of changes and novelties that people have to face compared with their previous life. The further away a person comes from, the more destabilizing differences they are going to find:

«I was happy to arrive here [in Rome], but (…) there was no job, and then it was really difficult to get used to speaking [Italian], because it’s not like English, you have to study a bit (…) I did it with the help of my sister and my nephew»[15].

Josie comes from the Philippines and is now 64. She had a job in a factory back there, but in 1988 she had to decide to leave her homeland, her parents and her affections and follow the track that her older sister had traced three years before. «And then my sister told me: “Come here too [in Italy] and I will help you find work. But work in households”. For me it was OK, to have a job was enough»[16]. Since she left Batangas for Rome at 31, she has continuously been a domestic worker, housekeeping and giving care to elderly people.

Today she lives in a house with her husband and their seventeen-year-old son. She works mostly for elderly people in need of assistance: she keeps them company, helps them move around the house, accompanies them in the neighborhood or in parks. In her free time, she takes care of her own house, and, when she has the possibility, she goes to Church.

«It was all different. Me, I always had a dictionary by my side, but there was no phone to tell me immediately the meaning of the words». «I didn’t know what was going to change about the money, with the lira [the Italian currency at the time she had arrived in the country, before the introduction of the Euro]»[17].

In some positive cases, such difficulties can also become carriers of progress in work relationships and personal adaptation. For Michelle, for example, who has worked for and lived with a nonagenarian lady for two years, and then kept working for her son: «During the years that I spent with him, he taught me how to speak correctly, how to cook… he had become like a father basically»[18].

Michelle, from the Philippines too, is now 46, and she has been living in Italy for more than twenty years. She too had an older sister who had been in Italy before her for some years, and, as Josie had done, she left her birthplace and family in her twenties to go and work on the opposite side of the world: «I had a job in the Philippines, but the money for [contributing to help] the family wasn’t enough»[19]. In her homeland she was employed in a call center.

When she first arrived in Italy at 23, her first job was to do the cleaning in an office: «I arrived in the office and I did the cleaning, I had to handle all the rubbish, and I cried a lot. I wanted to go back home»[20]. Later she began to work with the old lady and her son, and in time she did many different jobs related to the care dimension.

Today she is a doorwoman, lives with her husband (a caregiver who works for an elderly woman who Michelle occasionally helps too) and their two sons, sixteen and twelve, born and raised in Rome. Sometimes she goes cycling with her husband, Alan, across the city and its green areas. On summer weekends she moves with her family to the seaside near Rome, and every Sunday she goes to Church. She and her family live close to the city center, but when they have the chance to, they take a little trip: «We go to church, Fatima church [near Tivoli, outside Rome and thus quite far from their neighborhood], where it’s full of Filipinos and there’s mass in English (…), then we have lunch together, it’s nice, we have fun, and so time goes by»[21].

Cutting bonds

 

One of the hardest consequences that all migrants must face is that of separations. When people leave (and again, especially when leaving from far areas of the world), they usually have to suspend many kinds of physical relationships.

«When did you last go to the Philippines?» «Three years ago. You can’t go back to Philippines, also because of the pandemic»[22].

Pedro, a 56-year-old Filipino, came to Italy in 2000. He works as a housecleaner and as a caregiver in different households. He lives in Rome with his wife, a domestic worker too, who he spends most of his free time with. They have a son that they haven’t seen for almost two years, because he is studying at the University in Manila, the capital of the Philippines.

In the case of Sorina, her husband left Romania before her and their sons looking for a job in Italy, and only later she too reached the country with their children. In Italy, they didn’t live together for a year or two, because they found jobs in different areas of the country. Sorina had to wait for one year to find a job where employers were willing to regularize her working situation with a contract. While her husband was already working in Verona, she had worked for a year in Rome and then found a contract in a hotel in Chianciano Terme. Crossing borders from Romania, she took her children with her, but «We [her and her former husband] didn’t have the possibility to obtain their documents overnight»[23] (at that time, Romania wasn’t part of the European Community). «In that moment my ex-husband was already in Verona, and there in Verona they didn’t want to enroll the children at school until they obtained the documents. And so I took my sons with me because there in Tuscany they accepted them at school without documents, so they began schools here. Then, in three months, after Christmas they too had their documents, we moved to Verona and they continued schools there, until the end of high schools»[24].

Now Sorina’s children are in their 30s: «After high school they decided to go back to Romania to study at university (…) and today they work in Bucharest[25]». They went back to their country, but she remained in Italy. Anyway, Romania and Italy are just a few hours away, so for Sorina it’s possible to remedy physical and affective distances.

Josie arrived in Rome when she was 31, rejoining her sister, who had already left their home and family. Doing so, she had to part with her parents and her husband, who she definitively reunited with only when he came to stay in Italy too: «And then my husband comes [to Italy] too» «When did he arrive here?» «After 15 years»[26].

Josie’s son lives with them in Rome, studies in a private school in English and doesn’t speak Italian fluently. When asked about her personal greatest wish for the future, Josie’s thought was «for my family, my family and my son’s studies, that’s my greatest wish. Let’s hope he finishes his studies for his life and his future»[27]. Josie has been living in Italy for more than three decades, and she would love to see her son going to the university in some years, though she doesn’t think that he will be willing to do it in Italy, but «In the Philippines» instead, «because he speaks little Italian. He told me that he wants to go back to study at university»[28].

Pedro has already had to deal with this issue. His 22-year-old son is living in Manila and goes to university, while he and his wife are in Rome and haven’t been going to the Philippines for three years. His dream for the future is to «Save some more money yet and one day… to come back home, with my whole family»[29]. But, for the moment, this is not possible. As Michelle (who knows Pedro) says: « [In the Philippines] There is very little money, not enough to live, you know. There are so many people who can’t go to university, so many. Only the rich [can]. You go to school when there’s somebody [behind you]. For instance, Pedro (…) luckily, if his son wishes to study at university what he wants to, there are Pedro and his wife who help him by sending him money, because they are here [In Rome]», «For them too it mustn’t be so easy [to work here, far from their son], right?», «No, it’s difficult, getting away from the family, but if they had stayed in the Philippines, his son wouldn’t have been able to study, because the money is not enough»[30].

Different choices: children’s wishes

 

Not all international migrant workers’ sons and daughters develop the same thoughts and desires for their future. In contrast with the two boys above mentioned, Michelle’s 16-year-old niece has convinced her mother, a domestic worker too, who had decided to return and stay with her parents in the Philippines after thirty years in Italy, not to go and transform her life: «She didn’t want to, because she was raised here [in Rome] and didn’t want to lose her friends and her cousins. She has cousins there too [in the Philippines] but she doesn’t know them. And then, the way she speaks… my niece doesn’t speak much Tagalog [Philippines’ first language], so everything would be a bit complicated for her. So in the end my sister decided to go every year. But now, with Covid…»[31]

The need to lighten the economic weights that her family was facing pushed Michelle to leave her homeland in the middle of her youth. In the Philippines she was engaged with Alan, but when she left the country he couldn’t do the same. They had to wait for five years to get reunited again, when he came to stay in Rome too. There, he found a job as a domestic worker («For Alan it was different [to what it was for Michelle, who had had a contract since the moment she started to work], he came through an agency, lavoro nero[32]»[33]), and after two years they got married. Today they have two children who attend school in Rome. Michelle, thinking about other migrant families’ stories, is worried for the future of hers: «When we go on holiday to the Philippines, they [her children] keep saying “When are we going back to Rome?”, because they are used to staying here… but I taught them Tagalog, it’s important. But this is a problem, because when we [Michelle and Alan] get older, we might want to go back home… but instead they will be willing to stay here, so we would always be separated[34]».

The Italian Syndrome

 

In the cases mentioned in this paper, migrating has never produced what is possibly the most painful separation, that of a parent who, at the time of leaving, has to separate from their child. Anyway, this is a common reality in migration, among domestic workers too. The vast majority of them are women, and very often, mothers. “In 2005, two Ukrainian psychiatrists from Ivano-Frankivs’k, Andriy Kiselyov and Anatoliy Faifrych identified a new form of depression that thousands of women suffer from. Many years of arduous work in foreign families involve a radical identity fracture and a weakening sense of motherhood guiltily lived, which can lead to suicide: the ‘Italian Syndrome’.

The other side of the syndrome has been studied in Romania: the depression of the children who have been left at home and looked after sometimes by fathers, more often by aunts, grandmothers, women neighbors, sometimes by nobody. There is a growth of cases of suicide among those who are called ‘white orphans’ in Romania, ‘social orphans’ in Moldova, ‘leftbehind’ in Ukraine”[35].

“(…) But the syndrome isn’t called ‘Italian’ because here we are treated worse than elsewhere. Italians are more welcoming than North Europeans (…) Simply, this is the most badantizzato[36] country in Europe, both because it’s less difficult to enter and because there is more care work offer”[37].

Compared with the total split that long-lasting migration has involved for centuries, todays’ digital progresses let migrants see the countenances of their beloved ones, continuously sharing their new lives with their homeland through messages and videocalls (where they can afford the means to do it). But as the words of Michelle tell us, these technological advances can surprisingly lead to new forms of suffering from distances and longings: «We [her and her parents] have videocalls every day, but my father doesn’t want to talk much because it makes him sadder»[38].

Rome is now home for Michelle, for her sister, and for her brother too, but their parents stayed in the Philippines, where they are retired and getting old. Paradoxically, «now [at Michelle’s home] there is a lady who works as a caregiver [laughs], the job that we do here, and who I pay for, together with my sister»[39]. This is part of what is known as ‘global care chain’, a phenomenon analyzed by feminist sociologist Arlie Russell Hochschild and which is becoming more and more evident. “Global care chains are networks of transnational dimensions that are formed for the purpose of maintaining daily life. These networks are comprised of households which transfer their care giving tasks from one to another on the basis of power axes, such as gender, ethnicity, social class, and place of origin”[40].

As female migrant domestic workers tend to replace wealthier countries women who have an external employment, local female domestic workers end up replacing women who migrate in their own households, where the need for care continues to be present.

Coming back?

 

People who leave to find better working and living conditions don’t usually think that they will stay away for long. They do so expecting to do any kind of work abroad for a year or so, make some good money and come back home in a short time, ready to start a new and better life than the one they had. But the truth is that, for instance, Michelle can’t think of one person that she knows who left the Philippines and came back quickly to make a new start at home: «No, nobody comes to my mind»[41].

Most people would love to come back in a short time, but economic needs make them stay longer, and longer, and longer. Migrant workers’ parents gradually get old and need medicines and assistance (even more if living in countries with poor or inexistent social security systems), and other relatives and local acquaintances might occasionally ask for economic help. This means that half of the earnings normally go in remittances. But maybe the greatest concern that prevents migrant domestic workers from coming back is the money required to guarantee a good education for their children.

Spread roots

 

Apart from the fundamental and undeniable economic ties that stop migrants from coming back easily and quickly[42], sometimes there is something else. People do have strong bonds with their homeland and the possibility to preserve them (especially in the last decades), maintaining contact with the people they know and the cultural aspects that tie them to their country (actually, when asked about their dream for the future, Pedro and Josie spoke of returning to the Philippines, when there is more saving). Spending an ever-growing number of years in a different place, though, people end up being bound to it too. They can feel tied in similar ways to two different places.

Today, Sorina still lives and works in Italy. She didn’t mention the desire to go back to live in Romania, and in general, from her words and her attitude, it seemed that she was good with her actual life in the Florentine countryside, where she has recently discovered a beautiful wood where she feels great.

Identities are never established once and for all, they can enrich, differentiate and redefine continuously. The roots of a person are set in a singular place in the world, but if life carries them around, they can spread beyond any kind of border.

Two years ago, Michelle’s mother-in-law had come back to the Philippines to stay. Now that the pandemic seems to be getting a little better, she is going to take the first flight to come back and live in Michelle and Alan’s house in Rome. Apart from the wellness and the economic advantages that today a Western country guarantees, there is something else. «Half of her body is in the Philippines, half is here, that’s why she wants to come back to Rome». «She wants to come back because she misses it here (…) She wanted to come back because life in the Philippines is different (…) she wants to stay here forever[43]. She misses Rome’s monuments, the food she had got used to, and all the things that make up the “Italian culture”. While talking about her mother-in-law, Michelle realized that she had spent half of her life here: she is 46 and came to Italy 23 years ago. «Life here is quiet, I like to stay here (…) it’s so difficult to leave Rome because I like it a lot, in the Philippines there is so much poverty (…). And so, Rome is my second home… my first home actually (laughs)… in fact I am Filipino. Rome is beautiful, but the Philippines too, there are many islands, so beautiful…»[44].

They are Filipinos, but a part of them is in the Pacific Ocean and the other is in Rome.

Not always, and not forever, but it often occurs that, for a period of their life, migrant domestic workers tend to slip away for the sake of others, be it parents, children or siblings. For many years, Michelle has had an unpleasant job and lived away from her loved ones. Josie did the same, separated from her husband for fifteen years. Pedro has to keep working as a domestic worker in a foreign country and sometimes still has to face language difficulties. Sorina left the country where she grew up and the workplace where she had always worked to seek fortune in another country. Disappointments, unfulfilled dreams, fragmented bonds, and lots of sacrifices mark their life, but there’s also room for rewarding and surprising outcomes. Today Michelle has a job that she is happy with and is now beginning to think about what university department might be better for her son, who would like to study as a doctor. Josie has a stable and serene life, living together with her husband and their child. Pedro lives with his wife and keeps in contact with his relatives in his homeland, knowing that he’s contributing to the costs of his son’s studies. Sorina keeps living and working in Italy, a few hours by coach away from Bucharest and her family, happy with the dimension that she found for herself.

Bibliography

Basa, Charito; Harcourt, Wendy; Zarro, Angela (2011) “Remittances and transnational families in Italy and The Philippines: breaking the global care chain”, Gender & Development, 19:1, 11-22

International Labour Office, Labour Migration Branch, Conditions of Work and Equality, Department of Statistics (2015) “ILO global estimates on migrant workers. Results and methodology. Special focus on migrant domestic workers”

International Labour Organization (2020) “Impact of the COVID-19 crisis on loss of jobs and hours among domestic workers”

International Labour Organization (2021) “Making decent work a reality for domestic workers: Progress and prospects ten years after the adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189)”

King-Dejardin, Amelita (2019) “The social construction of migrant care work. At the intersection of care, migration and gender”, International Labour Office (ILO) – Geneva

Osservatorio Nazionale DOMINA sul Lavoro Domestico (National Monitoring Center on Domestic Work) – 2020 Report on domestic work. Analysis, statistics, national and local trends

Osservatorio Nazionale DOMINA sul Lavoro Domestico (National Monitoring Center on Domestic Work), articles and insights on domestic work

Pérez Orozco, Amaia (2009) “Global care chains” in Gender, Migration and Development Series, Working Paper 2, UN INSTRAW

Salvinelli, Laura “Migrazioni dall’est, la sindrome italiana”, il manifesto, February 20, 2021

Tyldum, Guri (2015) “Motherhood, Agency and Sacrifice in Narratives on Female Migration for Care Work”, Sage Publications, Sociology, Vol. 49, No. 1 (February 2015), pp. 56-71

[1] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 23, 2021

[2] ILO Global estimates of migrant workers and migrant domestic workers: results and methodology / International Labour Office – Geneva: ILO, 2015

[3] ILO. C189 – Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189), article 1 (a)

[4] ILO Global estimates of migrant workers and migrant domestic workers: results and methodology / International Labour Office – Geneva: ILO, 2015

[5] Ibid.

[6] Ibid.

[7] “Meanwhile, in center (non-peripheral) countries, a ‘care crisis’ is taking place. The previous model of social organization pertaining to care, which was characterized by the sexual division of labor and the social split between public and private spaces, has come apart. The social responsibility for the provision of care wasn’t available in the public spaces and, therefore, this responsibility fell on domestic groups in private spaces. Given the gendered nature of power relations within households, women were those ultimately held responsible for the provision of care”. Amaia Pérez Orozco – Global Care Chains – UN INSTRAW

[8] And the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated their situation: according to ILO estimates about spring 2020, of the 55 million domestic workers significantly impacted by COVID-19, nearly 76% of them was in informal employment.

[9] ILO Global estimates of migrant workers and migrant domestic workers: results and methodology / International Labour Office – Geneva: ILO, 2015

[10] The social construction of migrant care work. At the intersection of care, migration and gender / Amelita King-Dejardin; International Labour Office – Geneva: ILO, 2019.

https://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/—ed_protect/—protrav/—migrant/documents/publication/wcms_674622.pdf

[11] ISTAT (National Statistics Institute) data

[12] Osservatorio Nazionale DOMINA sul Lavoro Domestico (National Monitoring Center on Domestic Work) 2020 Report

https://www.osservatoriolavorodomestico.it/rapporto-annuale-lavoro-domestico-2020

[13] Tatiana Nogailic, interview by “cooperativamatrioska” found on YouTube – “Tatiana Nogailic – Stories of Moldovan women in Italy. Reflections and memories paths”, uploaded March 1, 2020.

[14] Sorina, videocall interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 21, 2021

[15] Josie Comia, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, July 5, 2021

[16] Ibid.

[17] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 23, 2021

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 23, 2021

[22] Pedro M. Pessigan, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, July 2, 2021

[23] Sorina, videocall interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 21, 2021

[24] Ibid.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Josie Comia, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, July 5, 2021

[27] Ibid.

[28] Ibid.

[29] Pedro M. Pessigan, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, July 2, 2021

[30] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 23, 2021

[31] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, September 4, 2021

[32] Italian way to talk about informal/illegal work

[33] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, September 4, 2021

[34] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 23, 2021

[35] Laura Salvinelli, “Migrazioni dall’est, la sindrome italiana” (Migrations from the East, the Italian Syndorme) il manifesto, February 20, 2021

https://ilmanifesto.it/migrazioni-dellest-la-sindrome-italiana/

[36] Italian adjective coined from the word “badante”, equals caregiver

[37] Svitlana Kovalska interview in the article “Migrazioni dall’est, la sindrome italiana” by Laura Salvinelli, il manifesto, February 20, 2021

[38] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, August 23, 2021

[39] Ibid.

[40] Amaia Pérez Orozco – Global Care Chains – UN INSTRAW. See also Charito Basa, Wendy Harcourt & Angela Zarro (2011) Remittances and transnational families in Italy and The Philippines: breaking the global care chain, Gender & Development

[41] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, September 4, 2021

[42] Further increased by the COVID-19 pandemic: «It’s been hard because for two months during lockdown we were out of work, it’s difficult, because I need money to go back to the Philippines so it was a shame this lockdown…» – Pedro M. Pessigan, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, July 2, 2021

[43] Michelle Abiad, interview by the author, Rome, Italy, September 4, 2021

[44] Ibid.

Federico Politano

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