Good News for Do­mes­tic Help

A new ILO Con­ven­tion pro­vides un­prece­dented pro­tec­tion to do­mes­tic work­ers all around the world.

Southasia - - Labor rights - By Sabina Rizwan Khan

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-

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