Domestic workers aren’t always treated with the dignity and respect that they deserve – at times being seen as only “maids,” even second-class citizens.
We believe they are more than “maids.” They are workers, mothers, fathers, strong women, and, most importantly, human beings.
Slavery is illegal in almost every nation on earth but still exists everywhere.
Slave Labour contributes to the production of at least 136 goods from 74 countries worldwide. 68% are subject to forced labour. Nearly 1 in 3 detected victims of slavery is a child. Over half victims of slavery are women and girls.
We routinely hear appalling stories of domestic workers or modern slavery being exploited in places like Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Malaysia and Hong Kong, but we forget that such abuses also exist in Bangladesh and Asian sub continent.
Hired domestic workers ease the burden of individual households by undertaking household chores in return for remuneration. The tasks include the care of children and the elderly, cooking, driving, cleaning, grocery shopping, running errands and taking care of household pets, particularly in urban areas. However, despite the benefits this work brings to individual households, domestic workers are often not recognized as workers by society.
Tasks performed by them are not recognized as ‘work’. Domestic workers continue to struggle for visibility and recognition.
At present, domestic work stands as a readily-available livelihood option for millions of women. While a large number of women are engaged in this sector, it is important to look at the working conditions that exist in this sector. Fixing fair, minimum wages, providing weekly days off and paid annual leaves, protecting from physical and sexual abuse and ensuring social security, are key issues that need to be addressed by the government.
Domestic workers are just like all of us. And they deserve to be treated well.