• Tens of millions of women and girls around the world are employed as domestic workers in private households. They clean, cook, care for children, look after elderly family members, and perform other essential tasks for their employers. Despite their important role, they are among the most exploited and abused workers in the world. They often work 14 to 18 hours a day, seven days a week, for wages far below the minimum wage. They may be locked within their workplace and subject to physical and sexual violence. Children and migrant domestic workers are often the most vulnerable.

    A new international treaty – the Domestic Workers Convention – was adopted in June 2011, providing the first global standards to protect domestic workers.

  • A foreign domestic worker with a child under a billboard in the United Arab Emirates.
    Migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are beaten, exploited, and trapped in forced labor situations, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UAE government, about to take up an influential new role in the International Labour Organization (ILO), has failed to adequately protect female domestic workers – many of them from the Philippines – from abuse by employers and recruiters.

Reports

  • Abuse and Exploitation of Female Migrant Domestic Workers in the United Arab Emirates
  • Abuses against Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK
  • Domestic Workers’ Movements and Global Advances for Labor Reform

Domestic Workers

  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Oct 22, 2014
    Migrant domestic workers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are beaten, exploited, and trapped in forced labor situations, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UAE government, about to take up an influential new role in the International Labour Organization (ILO), has failed to adequately protect female domestic workers – many of them from the Philippines – from abuse by employers and recruiters.
  • Sep 24, 2014
  • Sep 4, 2014
    The UK government should address, not dismiss, evidence that employers have abused migrant domestic workers in the UK, Human Rights Watch and the UK charity Kalayaan said today. A draft law before parliament is aimed at combating forced labor and other criminal offences but does not address a visa system that contributes to the abuse of migrant domestic workers by their employers.
  • Jun 11, 2014
    The adoption by the International Labour Organization (ILO) on June 11, 2014, of a landmark new treaty will advance the fight to prevent forced labor, and to protect and compensate the estimated 21 million victims worldwide, Human Rights Watch said today. Governments, trade unions, and employers’ organizations that make up the ILO overwhelmingly voted to adopt the ILO Protocol on Forced Labor, which updates a widely-ratified, but outdated, 1930 treaty in order to better address contemporary abuses, including against migrants and in the private sector.
  • Jun 10, 2014
  • Apr 8, 2014
  • Apr 7, 2014
    The Home Secretary, Theresa May, has committed to abolish what she calls "modern day slavery", and within weeks will present a bill to parliament making it easier to prosecute and punish those responsible for human trafficking, forced labour, domestic servitude and slavery. But one highly vulnerable group - migrant domestic workers - are currently omitted from the scope of the proposed legislation. The government is doing far too little to protect them, and through changes to immigration rules, has actually made it harder for them to access help.
  • Mar 31, 2014
    The European Union (EU)-Africa summit provides an important opportunity to highlight crucial human rights developments in both Africa and Europe. Progress is being made on many human rights issues in an array of countries, but daunting challenges remain. The summit agenda includes both democracy and governance and peace and security, two broad topics that include a range of human rights concerns.