Lara, a single mother from the Philippines, came to the UK with the family she had been working for as a domestic worker in the Middle East. She had no time off, slept on the floor of the children's room. She sometimes worked until 4am, and started at 7am. She was never allowed to leave the house.
When she finally ran away and went to Kalayaan, a London based organisation supporting domestic workers, they could only advise her that she couldn’t work for anyone else, and the fact she ran away meant that her visa was no longer valid.
Not working was not an option as Lara had to provide for her children back in Philippines. The next times Kalayaan called her to check in on her Lara would not pick up the phone. There was nothing else they could do.
The story of Lara is quite unbelievable.
Not only because some people enslave and abuse others in such cruel way, but because British Government refuses to help women like Lara, maintaining specific immigration rules for overseas domestic workers that in practice prevent them from leaving their employers even if they prove to be abusive.
The UK Parliament has recently debated changes to these unjust rules. Unfortunately, despite many of our supporters taking action and asking their MPs to protect domestic workers from slavery, the House of Commons rejected the amendment to implement necessary changes to the visa rules.
We would like to thank all our supporters who took action to protect domestic workers from slavery. However, this is not the end of our fight. We will update you with the developments as they arise.
We will not rest until domestic workers in the UK are properly protected from slavery.
*not her real name