Good News for Domestic Help
A new ILO Convention provides unprecedented protection to domestic workers all around the world.
With so many years of struggle and campaigns by various migrants, unions and women’s organizations, finally domestic workers around the world have achieved the milestone of being recognized as workers. The convention passed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) on 16th June, 2011 has taken the status of millions of migrant workers, especially women and young girls to a better level. Now, with legal protection of their rights, it is expected that the working and socio-economic conditions of these workers will improve greatly.
Belonging to what is called an informal economy, domestic workers all over the world have been victims of low wages, forced work, child labor and various forms of discrimina- tion. The official treaty will ensure their status as workers with a voice.
Karin Pape, coordinator of the International Domestic Workers Network ( IDWN) says, “ Domestic workers are not helpers. We are not maids, and we are not servants. Certainly none of us should be slaves. We are workers.”
South Asia is one of the biggest hubs that provide services of domestic workers within the region and also to other countries. Numerous workers, particularly females work throughout their lives as domestic maids and often are forced to work with poor conditions and salaries. Belonging mostly to low-income and disadvantaged communities, these workers are often exploited by their employers with low wages, demanding jobs and long working hours. This invisible form of ser-