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Protect the rights of domestic workers

International Labour Organization (ILO) estimates that there are 50 million people working as domestic workers across the world, including an estimated 15 million children.  Domestic work is poorly regulated, undervalued, and many domestic workers are subject to serious abuses, including slavery.

Domestic workers often work excessively long hours, without breaks, days off or holidays. Those who live with their employers are often considered ‘on call’ to undertake work for their employer 24 hours per day. The pay is often very low, with wage payments frequently delayed. 

Many domestic workers face verbal abuse such as insults and threats, alongside physical and even sexual abuse. Some experience a lack of food and poor living conditions such as having to sleep on the floor in a utility room.

Domestic workers lack legal protection. In many countries, domestic workers are not considered ‘workers’ but rather as informal ‘help’ and are excluded from national labour legislation.

Children working as domestic workers, some as young as six, are even more vulnerable to slavery and abuse than adults. Many suffer abuse, can't go to school, have a restricted from contact with their family and lack the opportunity to make friends.

The Convention to protect domestic workers

The International Labour Organization's 2011 Convention concerning decent work for domestic workers (Convention No. 189) was adopted in June 2011 to protect the rights of domestic workers across the world.

Countries ratifying the ILO Convention agree to ensure fair and decent conditions for domestic workers by protecting their fundamental labour rights, preventing abuse and violence and establishing safeguards for young domestic workers.

Only a few countries have ratified the Convention so far - as of January 2014 only 11 have completed the ratification procedure. That is why we need your help to  put pressure on your government to ratify it and make the protection of domestic workers a reality.


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Cyprian, former child domestic worker, Tanzania

Cyprian, 17, from Tanzania, has been a domestic worker since he was eleven. He could not go to school as his employer didn't give him time off. He got support through Anti-Slavery partners Kuvulini and now he became a leader in his community helping other child domestic workers to make changes in their lives.
©Anti-Slavery International