Help protect domestic workers in the UK - FreedomUnited.org
62,312 actions of 75,000 goal
Campaign Update:

26 April 2016: The House of Commons rejected a House of Lord’s amendment to the Immigration Bill to allow ODWs to change their employer and to remain in the country for a further two years, by 304 votes to 268. This means that while ODWs now have the right to change employer, they will only be able to do this within their original 6 month entry visa. Thank you for your support on this campaign – your actions have helped raise awareness of the issue and we will continue to look out for opportunities to influence.

Help protect domestic workers in the UK

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Sara’s Story

“We don’t have any days off. We don’t have any freedom.”

When we spoke to Sara*, a survivor of domestic slavery, we knew we had to do something to help.

Excited for a new opportunity and the chance to help her family financially, Sara, an Indian national, was brought to the UK by a family to work as a domestic worker in their home. But far from the life she imagined, she found herself locked in the house, working round the clock, with no-one to turn to for help.

With support from a neighbour, Sara was able to escape. Now she wants to do everything she can to help domestic workers still trapped in slavery.

“Now I am free. I [am] so happy.” Sara

In 2012 the UK Government introduced the tied visa, which prevents overseas domestic workers from changing employers. Fortunately for Sara, she entered the UK before 2012 and was able to find another job and support herself after escaping slavery. Now that is not an option. The tied visa increases the risk of domestic slavery because trying to escape from exploitative situations could mean facing arrest, removal from the UK, or even further exploitation.1

Alongside our partners, Justice for Domestic Workers and Kalayaan, we want other domestic workers living in slavery to find the same freedom Sara did. Please stand with us and demand rights for overseas domestic workers.

Back in March last year we ran a campaign asking the government to strengthen the Modern Slavery Act and protect overseas domestic workers by removing the tied visa. They refused. Instead, they asked Barrister James Ewins to conduct an independent investigation into the tied visa system in the UK to find out if it did allow domestic slavery to flourish.2 UK Minister of Modern Slavery, Karen Bradley MP, said that, “the intention is that whoever is in government…will implement the review’s recommendations”.3 Let’s hold her to it!

In December, Ewins’ final report was published. It found that the tied visa is ‘incompatible with the reasonable protection of overseas domestic workers’.4

Call the UK Home Office to account by demanding implementation of all recommendations in the Ewins Report to protect overseas domestic workers in the UK from slavery.

*Name changed to protect victim’s identity

  • 26 April 2016: The House of Commons rejected a House of Lord’s amendment to the Immigration Bill to allow ODWs to change their employer and to remain in the country for a further two years, by 304 votes to 268. This means that while ODWs now have the right to change employer, they will only be able to do this within their original 6 month entry visa. Thank you for your support on this campaign – your actions have helped raise awareness of the issue and we will continue to look out for opportunities to influence.

  • 07 March 2016: UK Government responded to James Ewins’ report and announced its intention to implement some of the suggested recommendations for protecting domestic workers, including untying the visa for ODWs. However, until the government allows ODWs to apply for an extension to their visa, the rights afforded by untying their visa are hard to realise.

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