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The ongoing coronavirus pandemic underlines the urgent need for safety nets for domestic workers.

Few workers have cause to celebrate May 1, International Workers' Day, this year. COVID-19 has been accompanied by another pandemic - of job loss and economic insecurity. Domestic workers, primarily women, have particularly precarious jobs and often do…
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Working up to 18 hours per day for weeks without breaks or a day off. Being paid little, or not at all. Locked in their employers’ home, fed food scraps, their passports confiscated. These abuses can amount to modern slavery as defined by the United…
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Over the last year, reporting about FIFA, football’s scandal-plagued governing body, has focused on arrests, corruption, and worker rights abuses in the upcoming World Cup host countries, Russia and Qatar. So today’s news that…
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This week, British MPs face a simple choice. They must decide if it is right that a woman who flees abuse should become an undocumented migrant just because she runs away. Women like Joycelyn, a young Filipino mother who was brought to London from the…
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Restore Right of Domestic Workers to Change Employers

(London) – The House of Lords should amend the Modern Slavery Bill to restore the right for migrant domestic workers to change employers, Human Rights Watch and the United Kingdom charity Kalayaan said today. The bill is being considered in the House of…
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Allow Employees to Change Employer to Escape Abuse

(London) – The United Kingdom House of Lords should amend a draft law on “modern slavery” to include protections from abuse for migrant domestic workers, Human Rights Watch said today. The upper chamber of the UK parliament is scheduled to begin its…
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Don’t Dismiss Reports of Forced Labor, Exploitation

(London) – 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…
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Wealthy families who come to the UK may bring with them domestic workers who work for them in their home country – often women who raise their children, clean their homes and cook their meals. In a move to cut down on immigration, two years ago the UK…
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UK Government Should Abolish ‘Tied Visa’ to Protect Workers, Prevent Forced Labor

(London) – Migrant domestic workers accompanying their employers to the United Kingdom are being subjected to serious abuses including forced labor, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The UK government is doing far too little to protect…
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Hidden Away Abuses against Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK Summary Findings Obligations Recommendations To the UK Government To the UK Parliament To the Home…
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Like many white South Africans of the time, I grew up in a home with a domestic worker who washed the dishes, made our beds, ironed our clothes and cleaned up after us. Emily, whose surname I never knew, lived in the small servant’s quarters behind our…
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Liesl Gerntholtz says even though there are huge violations against some domestic workers, there has been progress. (SABC interview) Liesl Gerntholtz, the Director of the Women's Rights Division of Human Rights Watch, says one of the major problems…
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Protection of Migrants’ Rights in 2009

SummaryKey RecommendationsWomen Migrant Domestic WorkersMigrant Construction WorkersRight to HealthDiscriminatory Treatment of MigrantsTreatment of Migrants Crossing Borders2009 Human Rights Watch Reports on Migrants Summary Migrants drowning at sea…
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Deaths, Labor Exploitation, Violence, and Poor Treatment in Detention

(New York) - Many governments' policies toward migrants worldwide expose them to human rights abuses including labor exploitation, inadequate access to health care, and prolonged detention in poor, overcrowded conditions, Human Rights Watch said today in…
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A middle-aged black woman living on a farm in KwaZulu-Natal described how the new owner of the farm assaulted her in 1999: The farmer was on the riverbank. When I got to him I crossed the river to the fence separating us. The farmer was standing on the…
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The South African government is failing to adequately protect residents of commercial farming areas from violent crime, Human Rights Watch charged in a report released today. Black farm residents are most severely affected by this failure, and black women…