Four years ago, Farida Hajimova’s husband left Tajikistan to work in Russia. After a time, he stopped calling. Ultimately, he never returned. She was left at home in Dushanbe with two daughters and not a lot of options. Now she says she has no choice but to follow in her ex-husband's footsteps -- not to find him, but to find work herself.
Hajimova is one of an increasing number of Tajik women journeying abroad, mostly to Russia, as labor migrants. Until relatively recently, the overwhelming majority of migrant workers leaving Tajikistan were men. But desperation and poverty are forcing tens of thousands of women to hit the road. Experts voice concern that many female migrants are at risk of being abused and trafficked for sex.
“I have only been able to find part-time work here in Dushanbe,” said 28-year-old Hajimova, who plans to follow two friends who work as cleaning ladies in Moscow. “My oldest daughter will go to school in September and I need to be able to afford to buy her the necessary supplies. The children will stay with their aunt and I will go to Moscow.”
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