Demand dignity for domestic workers -

Demand Dignity for Domestic Workers

Domestic work in Australia

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“You must iron my clothes and make my food whenever I like and whatever I like. . . you must care for me. . . you are here to do the housework. . . otherwise it’s no use keeping you here.”

These are the chilling instructions one woman was given after commencing domestic work in Australia, and is just one of the stories contained in a 2014 report by the Australian Institute of Criminology.1

Domestic slavery takes many forms: 16-hour days without breaks, violence and threats and little or no pay. In short, it’s when private homes become prisons that people cannot leave.

By their very nature, these abuses happen behind closed doors – and many Australians do not realize it happens in their own country. But if we come together, we can make domestic slavery an urgent priority, and spur the Government of Australia to take immediate action to ensure no domestic worker is enslaved here.

There are an estimated 54,000 domestic workers in Australia.2 By taking swift action now, we can help protect every one of these workers from the nightmare of modern slavery.

  • COVID-19 Update: Victims of modern slavery are often referred to as being hidden in plain sightbut during the pandemic, they are hidden twice over. Social distancing policies requiring people to stay indoors have led to some domestic workers losing their jobs thus increasing their vulnerability, while others face more intense work due to their employer staying home. Take a stand today. 

  • February 2020: As of this month, Australia has still not ratified the Domestic Workers Convention (C189) and little progress has been made for domestic workers in the country. Let’s keep the pressure on and make sure this changes.

  • July 2018: The Department of Foreign Affairs issued a factsheet to diplomats living in Australia stipulating that domestic workers must be paid into an Australian bank account, that foreign officials cannot cancel an employee’s visa, and that domestic workers are free to leave their workplace outside working hours. These requirements should go beyond diplomatic heads of missions and be extended to all employers in Australia to ensure domestic workers’ rights are fully protected. Read more on the story here.

  • Sep 24, 2015: Campaign Launches

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6 years ago

as an activist in Morocco , we are traying to help a lot all migrant workers we even succeded to force our gouvernement to issue many laws on the befinifit of the migrant workers especially domestic workers . Morocco has announced the amnesty two times we got the law bill 19/12 for the recuitment of domestic workers bill 17/14 for human traficking , but still we can not combat yet the illegal agencies especialy for the filipino workers because they are protected by the philippines embassy

6 years ago

These domestic workers should be protected at all cause no matter and diplomatic immunity should be disregarded and overruled when it comes to such cases. Individuals who abuse their powers should be held reliable and given strict guidelines on how to treat their employees with dignity and respect. New reforms and regulations should be implemented sooner than later to protect these workers.

Jane S Gabin
Jane S Gabin
6 years ago

Sounds like the host countries are being VERY WEAK in protecting workers coming to their shores.

Call on the Government of Australia to improve safeguards for domestic workers


Help us reach 15,000

To The Hon. Michaelia Cash, Minister for Jobs and Innovation,

The Australian Government stated in June 2014 that it “already has strong laws in place to prevent slavery, prosecute perpetrators, and help is available to assist victims if required.”

Yet despite these laws, a series of horrific examples have shown that domestic workers in Australia remain vulnerable to severe exploitation and abuse equal to modern slavery.

We therefore call on the Government of Australia to improve the safeguards for domestic workers in this country by:

– Ratifying the International Domestic Workers Convention (C189)

– Granting bridging visas to domestic workers who wish to pursue civil cases against their employer if other visa options are not available

– Providing culturally appropriate rights information to people intending to obtain employment as domestic workers prior to their departure to Australia, and implement safety and welfare compliance checks once they arrive

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