Casimira Rodriguez – trafficking survivor, domestic worker and Bolivia’s first indigenous woman minister – was just 13 years old when she was trafficked from her rural home in the Mizque region and forced to become a domestic worker in a household that was also a cocaine laboratory, in Cochabamba, Bolivia’s fourth-largest city. Enslaved for two years, Casimira only managed to escape when her mother arrived to help her break out of the house. At the age of 17 years she returned to Cochabamba and found domestic work with a sympathetic employer.
– Excerpt from theBriefing Kit“Domestic Workers Count Too: Implementing Protection for Domestic Workers”
UN Womenand the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) recently released “Domestic Workers Count Too: Implementing Protection for Domestic Workers” – aBriefing Kitthat not only outlines the normative framework to promote and protect the rights of domestic workers, but also demonstrates how this can be operationalized. The document draws on national practices worldwide and explores, through personal testimonies, the significance of regulating and protecting domestic work from the point of view of domestic workers, trade unions, governments and employers.
The latter is crucial. Data from the International Labour Organization (ILO) used in theBriefing Kitshows that domestic workers – workers employed by private households within national boundaries or overseas to do house chores and care work – make up an estimated 4-10% of the labour force in developing countries and about 2% of the workforce in developed countries – figures that are expected to grow as a result of changing demographic trends and the subsequent “care crisis” of sorts.
Although domestic work contributes to renewing and sustaining life and is critically linked to social and economic development, theBriefing Kitexplains that, as a result of its invisible nature, domestic work is not regulated in almost 40% of countries worldwide. Consequently domestic work exacerbates abuse and exploitation of workers, including through “contract substitution, poor wages, non-payment or delayed payment of wages, very long hours of work, no break periods or rest days, restrictions on freedom of movement and association, no access to collective bargaining, inadequate food and accommodation, including lack of privacy, sexual and gender-based violence.”
To access “Domestic Workers Count Too: Implementing Protection for Domestic Workers,” clickhere.