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Professor reveals Filipino caregivers in U.S. vulnerable to exploitation during pandemic

SF State News, Philippines, 29 April 2021 - New research shows lack of labor protections for Filipino caregivers is exacerbated with COVID-19 crisis

San Francisco State University Associate Professor of Sociology Valerie Francisco-Menchavez recently authored a research paper with a personal story attached to it. “I attribute my grandmother’s early death to the stress she had as a caregiver,” she said.

This connection was one of the reasons Francisco-Menchavez decided to conduct research on caregivers for the elderly and their challenges, particularly during the COVID-19 crisis. Specifically, she wanted to look at the experiences of Filipino caregivers — like her grandmother — who largely make up the number of practitioners in the field. And there’s a reason why they do: The Philippines has a sophisticated system of exporting labor to other countries, Francisco-Menchavez explains.

Historically, many Filipinos who leave the Philippines do so for jobs that address labor shortages in other countries, acting as migrant workers. They often do this to earn higher wages abroad, allowing them to send money to their families in the Philippines. With the pressure to financially support their family members, many of these workers will take jobs without understanding the dangers they may present, Francisco-Menchavez says. Her research shows that this is a common story for Filipino caregivers in the U.S. during the pandemic.

“If they don’t work, they don’t have something to send home to the Philippines,” she said. “So they will walk willingly into a caregiving job with minimal personal protective equipment and without knowing the full extent of the pandemic or the virus because they have people who rely on them in the Philippines.”

Francisco-Menchavez and research collaborator Katherine Nasol, Ph.D. student at the University of California, Davis, interviewed and surveyed Filipino caregivers in the U.S. to get a deeper view of their experiences before and during the pandemic. The collaborators published their findings in the journal American Behavioral Scientist last month.

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Source: https://news.sfsu.edu/news-story/professor-reveals-filipino-caregivers-us-vulnerable-exploitation-during-pandemic

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