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Migrant domestic workers projects

from Nepal to Lebanon

In Lebanon alone, there is currently an estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers. The abuse and exploitation they suffer is well documented. Until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.

The plight of Nepalese migrant domestic workers is rooted in a continuum of vulnerabilities starting from their recruitment in their rural villages and lasting until they start work in a home in the Lebanese capital city and beyond.

Anti-Slavery International is working with local partners KAFA in Lebanon and GEFONT in Nepal to address the problem of exploitation of Nepali migrant domestic workers in Lebanon.

In Nepal we work to reach potential migrant domestic workers even in the rural areas of eastern Nepal, with the help of the community and we ensure that we provide them training making them aware of the risks associated with migrating, and teach how to mitigate them and how to claim their rights.  In Lebanon, the project aims to empower Nepalese migrant domestic workers to self organise and create a new, active and partly autonomous community able to assert their rights and provide peer support. We have established a self-support group of Nepali domestic workers in Lebanon called NARI, which continues to grow both in size and confidence.

Alongside working directly with migrant communities, the project also advocates with policy makers in both Nepal and Lebanon. In Nepal, we ask the Government to lift the deployment ban currently in place on migration for domestic work in Lebanon and establish safe migration mechanisms for them.

In Lebanon we advocate for the reform of the kafala system and for the right of abused migrant domestic workers to leave their employer and be granted a grace period to find a new employer; and for domestic workers to be included in the labour laws. We are also asking both countries to ratify International Labour Organisation (ILO) Domestic Work Convention 189.

From Bangladesh to Lebanon

Last year (2014) we started a new project Work In Freedom to improve working conditions for women migrating to Lebanon. Building on our current project on Nepalese workers, we extended our work to women coming from Bangladesh.

We have started the process to identify the Bangladeshi community of migrant domestic workers and support them in organising. Our partner the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) has started preparing groundwork in Bangladesh for a systematic awareness raising workshop for unions, NGOs and government on the issue of migrants domestic workers.

within india

Together with our partners The National Domestic Workers’ Movement (NDWM), we run a project aimed at tackling domestic servitude in India. The project focuses on inter-state migrant workers from the poorer states, who are among the most marginalised and socially discriminated populations in India.

The project aims to facilitate workers’ access to social security entitlements, including the setting of a minimum wage for domestic workers. We have already delivered over tens training sessions on labour rights, safe migration, women’s rights benefiting thousands of migrant domestic workers.

We also work with state and national governments to ensure that domestic workers enjoy better working conditions and institutions which are more responsive to their needs and rights.

Read the 2016 joint submission from Anti-Slavery International, Jan Jagriti Jendra, The National Domestic Workers’ Movement, and Volunteers for Social Justice, on bonded labour, trafficking and domestic work in India, 2016.


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Migrant domestic workers"One day, after complaining about my conditions and salary I was beaten right away.”
Read Kamala Majhi's story
©Pete Pattisson / www.petepattisson.com

Migrant domestic  workersThe Kafala system leaves migrant domestic workers vulnerable to exploitation and abuse
©Pete Pattisson / www.petepattisson.com