Undocumented migrant women are one of the most vulnerable groups, finding themselves at the intersection of multiple forms of systemic discrimination and violence . Even though the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU guarantees protection of fundamental rights for everyone on the territories of EU, undocumented migrant women are excluded from this protection de facto, as well as de jure.
The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified existing discrimination and violence against women and created new outcomes that disproportionately impact migrant women and girls. In the face of this unprecedented health emergency, European countries adopted extraordinary measures such as extensive lockdowns, restricting freedoms and human rights in the process. Migrant women and girls have been overwhelmingly affected by these measures, which illustrates the failure of legislative systems across Europe to effectively guarantee migrant women and girls the enjoyment of their protected rights. From the early stages of the pandemic, the European Network of Migrant Women highlighted the augmented risk, for women in precarious situations, to lose their legal status and to consequently be exposed to more violence. This concerned, in particular, domestic and care workers at risk of losing their jobs and housing, asylum-seeking women whose applications for permanent status were delayed indefinitely, victims of male violence in the home whose legal status depends on their spouses, and women in prostitution including victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation.
Regretfully, as Europe recovers from the pandemic, these women continue to live at extreme risk of unemployment, poverty, homelessness, trafficking, male violence in the home, exploitation in prostitution and labour exploitation, and femicide, while continuing to live behind multiple barriers to justice, and in fear of losing their legal status.
During the COVID pandemic, in partnership with legal firms of TrustLaw (Thomson Reuters Foundation), ENoMW conducted a legal mapping on undocumented migrant women's access to fundamental rights in nine European countries (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Spain, Sweden and Greece) as well as EU level.
The report also examines access to rights of the four groups at risk of losing documented states, (women asylum seekers, migrant women victims of domestic violence, women victims of trafficking and sexual exploitation and female domestic workers).