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Abuk A.

Thousands of women and children were taken into slavery during the decades of Sudan’s civil war, mainly from Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the Nuba Mountains. Slave-taking was revived in 1985 by the National Islamic government of Sudan primarily as a weapon against counterinsurgents in the South, and secondarily a way to reimburse its surrogate soldiers for neutralizing this threat. In 1989 the government created the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), militia trained to raid villages and take people as slaves. PDF recruits were allowed to keep whoever they captured, along with booty of grain and cattle. One study documents 12,000 abductions by name, while NGOs offer estimates ranging from 15,000 to 200,000. The slaves were often moved to large towns in the north on week-long journeys during which the women were repeatedly raped, and then sold to new masters who used them without pay for farming and sexual services. The peace process brought these PDF abductions to an end, but inter-tribal abductions continue in Southern Sudan. In addition, Sudanese children are used by rebel groups in the ongoing conflict in Darfur; Sudanese boys from the country’s eastern Rashaida tribe continue to be trafficked to the Middle East for use as camel jockeys; the rebel organization “Lord’s Resistance Army” has forcibly conscripted children in Southern Sudan for use as combatants in its war against Uganda; and the institution of chattel slavery continues in southern Darfur and southern Kordofan.

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Afsana

It is estimated that there are over four million domestic workers in India. The domestic sector is informal and unregulated, obscured in private homes, and workers are not recognised as such but rather as ‘informal help’. Their wages are, on average, only a third of those in other sectors, they have very limited social protections, and commonly suffer poor working conditions, exploitation, abuse and slavery. Many domestic workers are migrants from poorer states and are among the most marginalised and socially discriminated populations in India. Most of them are Dalits or come from other disadvantaged castes and tribal minorities, many are landless, illiterate and innumerate, which increases their vulnerability and disempowerment. Afsana was just 16 years old and her parents were struggling to feed their family when a woman offered to get Afsana a job. Eventually both parents agreed and Afsana was taken to a house to undertake domestic work. Forced to work long, gruelling hours and physically and sexually abused Afsana never received any money for her work. Afsana eventually escaped with the help of a local worker.

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Afzal

There are an estimated 6000 people living in conditions of modern slavery in Kuwait (GSI 2018). Men and women migrate from South and Southeast Asia, Egypt, the Middle East, and increasingly throughout Africa to work in Kuwait, predominantly in the domestic service, construction, hospitality, and sanitation sectors. The vast majority of migrant workers arrive voluntarily; however, upon arrival some sponsors subject migrants to forced labour, including through non-payment of wages, protracted working hours without rest, deprivation of food, threats, physical or sexual abuse, and restrictions on movement, such as confinement to the workplace and the withholding of passports. Many of the migrant workers arriving in Kuwait have paid exorbitant fees to labour recruiters in their home countries or are coerced into paying labour broker fees in Kuwait which, according to Kuwaiti law, should be paid by the employer—a practice making workers highly vulnerable to forced labour, including debt bondage. To a lesser extent, migrant women are also subjected to forced prostitution. Afzal travelled from Bangladesh to Kuwait to follow his wife who had been working abroad for three years. Afzal was sent to do housework where he experienced threats, beatings and sexual violence at the hands of his employer and her sons.

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Agor

Agor was ‘redeemed’ (bought out of slavery) by Christian Solidarity International (CSI), a Zurich-based international human rights organization, in January 2007. Along with the three main types of modern slavery (chattel slavery, debt bondage, and contract slavery), war slavery is another form of contemporary bondage. Thousands of women and children were taken into slavery during the decades of Sudan’s civil war, mainly from Northern Bahr El Ghazal and the Nuba Mountains. Slave-taking was revived in 1985 by the National Islamic government of Sudan primarily as a weapon against counterinsurgents in the South, and secondarily a way to reimburse its surrogate soldiers for neutralizing this threat. In 1989 the government created the Popular Defense Forces (PDF), militia trained to raid villages and take people as slaves. PDF recruits were allowed to keep whoever they captured, along with booty of grain and cattle. One study documents 12,000 abductions by name, while NGOs offer estimates ranging from 15,000 to 200,000. The slaves were often moved to large towns in the north on week-long journeys during which the women were repeatedly raped, and then sold to new masters who used them without pay for farming and sexual services. The peace process brought these PDF abductions to an end, but inter-tribal abductions continue in Southern Sudan. In addition, Sudanese children are used by rebel groups in the ongoing conflict in Darfur; Sudanese boys from the country’s eastern Rashaida tribe continue to be trafficked to the Middle East for use as camel jockeys; the rebel organization “Lord’s Resistance Army” has forcibly conscripted children in Southern Sudan for use as combatants in its war against Uganda; and the institution of chattel slavery continues in southern Darfur and southern Kordofan.

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AK

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.  AK, a 30-year-old woman from Ponorogo (2010), was promised by her broker the Minimum Allowable Wage of HK$3,580 (US$460) but was told otherwise at the training centre in Malang.

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Alisha A

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Within Nepal, bonded labour exists in agriculture, brick kilns, the stone-breaking industry, and domestic work. Sex trafficking of Nepali women and girls increasingly takes place in private apartments, rented rooms, guest houses, and restaurants. Nepali and Indian children are subjected to forced labor in the country, especially in domestic work, brick kilns, and the embroidered textile, or zari, industry. Under false promises of education and work opportunities, Nepali parents give their children to brokers who instead take them to frequently unregistered children’s homes in urban locations, where they are forced to pretend to be orphans to garner donations from tourists and volunteers; some of the children are also forced to beg on the street. Alisha hoped to continue her studies but her family’s financial needs led her to take a job as a domestic worker in Kathmandu. Alisha was forced to work long hours with no breaks, had her food and movement restricted and was subjected to physical abuse by her employer.

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Amina*

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. This survivor of modern slavery tells the Salvation Army of how she travelled from Sierra Leone to the UK after being promised a better education. Instead, she was trafficked into domestic servitude. This survivor was made to do all the housework, denied any privacy and never received any wages for her work. It was only when one of her employer’s children’s teachers called the police that this survivor was able to escape.

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Amirta

Lebanon is a destination for Asian and African women trafficked for the purpose of domestic servitude, and for women from Easter Europe for commercial sexual exploitation. There are estimated 200,000 migrant domestic workers in Lebanon and until 2012, Lebanon was the top country of destination for female migrant workers from Nepal.  Women who travel to Lebanon legally to work as household servants often find themselves in conditions of forced labour through the withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions on movement, threat and physical of sexual assault.   Amirta travelled from Nepal to Lebanon for domestic work. However, she was forced to work long hours for little pay and had her food and movement restricted. Amirta was subjected to threats and physical violence that saw her admitted to the hospital.

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AU

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.  AU, a 30-year-old woman from Tulungagung

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Basma N.

The Global Slavery Index has estimated that there are almost 3 million people living in conditions of modern slavery in the region of the Middle East and North Africa. Oman is a transit and destination country for men and women primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Philippines, most of whom migrate willingly as domestic servants or low-skilled workers in the country’s construction, agriculture and service sectors. Trafficked persons subsequently experience conditions of modern slavery such as the confiscation of passports, restrictions on movement, non-payment of wages, long working hours without rest and physical or sexual abuse. Basma N., 21, from Majohe in Dar es Salaam, went to Oman in March 2015 after her agent in Tanzania promised her a domestic worker job for a family of four with a salary of 70 OMR ($182) a month. However, upon arrival her employer confiscated her passport, and forced her to work 21 to 23 hours a day with no rest and no day off, in three houses for a family of nine, for 60 OMR ($156) per month. Basma was confined to the house, verbally abused and had two months’ salary taken away after she complained to the embassy about her working conditions. Her employer refused to let her leave unless she paid back costs amounting to 2,400 OMR ($6,234).

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Carla A.

It is estimated that of the 400 000 enslaved in the Philippines, the majority are in forced labour. Recent surveys suggest that one in every two Filipino women are working abroad in unskilled and domestic work, some of the highest risk industries for modern slavery. High population growth combined with limited employment opportunities leads many Filipinos to look for work abroad. People are deceived by promises of higher salary and better working conditions, only to find themselves forced to work long hours with no pay under the threat of physical and sexual violence. This forced labour often involves debt bondage in which the enslaved is told they owe money for travel, accommodation and living expenses. Carla left school to find work in order to help support her family. Taken to an agency Carla accepted an offer to become a domestic worker in Manila where she was told she would be able to earn more money. After working in multiple houses for different families, she arrived at a home where initially she thought she would be treated well. However, she soon found herself working every day, locked inside the house, subjected to physical beatings and denied medical attention. Carla was rescued when neighbours heard screaming and called the police. 

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Chantin

There are an estimated 171,000 people living in modern slavery in Nepal. Internal trafficking is significant in Nepal. Girls are trafficked internally for forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriage. A significant number of girls are estimated to be trafficked for sexual exploitation in Kathmandu’s entertainment sector and across the open border with India to Mumbai and other urban centres. Recent research in Kathmandu found that between 40 and 60 per cent of the females interviewed in entertainment sector workplaces (massage parlours, dance bars and cabin restaurants) were under the age of 19. Poverty is a significant driving factor for the exploitation and forced marriage of young girls in the country as although levels are declining, an estimated 10 million people live on incomes between USD1.90 and USD3.20 a day. Chantin was forced to marry a man she did not know when she was 21 years old. Her husband and his family would beat her, restrict food and force her to work ‘like a servant’.

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DeWi

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.  DeWi travelled to Hong Kong from Indonesia when an agency secured her domestic work in the country. Upon arrival her passport was taken and she was at the whim of the agency for finding work.

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DL

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.    DL, a 24-year-old woman trafficked from Ponorogo to Hong Kong (2012- ), describes how debts impacted her life.

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Eka

There are a reported 9,200 enslaved in Singapore with the large number of foreign workers being the most vulnerable to human trafficking and enslavement. Many are brought to the country after being deceived by recruiters in their home countries with the promise of employment only to become victims of debt bondage, forced labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Eka was looking for work after the breakdown of her marriage when a woman gave her an opportunity for a better life. Eka was sent to a training camp with over a hundred other women. Subjected to inhumane living conditions she found herself incurring debt that had never been agreed upon for her accommodation. One morning she was taken to the agency and told she would be working as a domestic worker. She was taken to a home in Yishun where she was forced to work long hours and received daily physical abuse. 

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Farah S.

The United Arab Emirates is a destination for men and women predominantly from South and Southeast Asia, trafficked for the purposes of labour and commercial sexual exploitation. Migrant workers make up over 90 per cent of the UAE’s private sector workforce and are recruited from India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Ethiopia, Eritrea, China, and the Philippines. Though some travel willingly, they are subjected to conditions of modern slavery including withholding of passports, non-payment of wages, restrictions of movement and threats of physical and sexual abuse. Trafficking of domestic workers is facilitated by the fact that normal protections for workers under UAE labour laws do not apply to domestic workers, leaving them more vulnerable to abuse. Farah S. travelled from Indonesia to Dubai through an agency and became engaged in domestic work. She was hired to work for an elderly couple but found that she had to serve around 20 people. Farah was required to work from 6am to 3am with no rest and no day off, her employer would shout at her and did not pay her for 3 months. When she asked to go back to the agency, she was told ‘I already bought you’. Farah was able to escape this abusive employer and went to live with other ‘runaway’ workers in a rented space, however this turned out to be a brothel.

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FI

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.  FI, a 29-year-old woman from Wonosobo (2012- ), recounted how the head of a recruitment agency in Indonesia had threatened her when she did not repay all her fees.

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GH

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.  GH, a 29-year-old woman from Cilacap, Indonesia was trafficked to Hong Kong for domestic work.

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GM

There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.    GM, a 45-year-old woman from Banyuwangi, details her daily routine as a migrant domestic worker in Hong Kong.

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Grace A

The UK National Crime Agency estimates 3,309 potential victims of human trafficking came into contact with the State or an NGO in 2014. The latest government statistics derived from the UK National Referral Mechanism in 2014 reveal 2,340 potential victims of trafficking from 96 countries of origin, of whom 61 percent were female and 29 percent were children. Of those identified through the NRM, the majority were adults classified as victims of sexual exploitation followed by adults exploited in the domestic service sector and other types of labour exploitation. The largest proportion of victims was from Albania, followed by Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania and Slovakia. Grace was just 10 years old when her parents died and she was forced to live on the streets of Lagos. A few years later she met a woman who said she was looking for someone to help her around the house. Grace stayed there for 2 years. At the age of 15 she was taken to England where she was forced to work as a prostitute. Grace was able to escape after 3 months; however, she was taken to a detention centre by authorities after her asylum claim was rejected, despite being told by the police she had been trafficked.