Domestic Slavery and Exploitation of Domestic Workers | Freedom United

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  • Domestic workers are at high risk of enslavement. A lack of legal protection, social isolation and a lack of personal autonomy within the home creates a high risk for slavery.
  • Domestic work is poorly regulated and undervalued. Domestic workers often work without an employment contract, and are often excluded from labour laws.
  • Some domestic workers live in their employers’ homes, and are considered ‘on call’ 24 hours per day. This can make them more vulnerable to being exploited.
  • When a worker is not free to leave, has their pay withheld, is abused, treated as a commodity and controlled by their employer, these conditions constitute slavery.
  • The most common signs are not being able to take time off, and having their freedom of movement restricted. There may be physical and emotional abuse and mistreatment.
  • Migrants are at especially high risk. They may have their documents confiscated, or be told that if they leave, they will be imprisoned for breaking immigration rules. They may face a language barrier, or be escorted back to their employer or detained if they escape.
  • Children are also at high risk. Estimates report about 17.2 million child domestic workers, with 11.5 million either below the minimum working age, or in hazardous circumstances.
  • ILO Convention 189 grants domestic workers the same standards as all other workers. It includes a minimum wage, clear terms of employment, daily and weekly rest time, and restrictions on in-kind payments. Twenty-three countries have ratified it.

Take Action: Help end domestic slavery


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Toni Adebayo-Oke
Toni Adebayo-Oke
2 years ago
Reply to  patrick omondi

Hi Patrick,
If you believe that someone you know may be a victim of modern slavery, we advise you to contact a local organization which can help.

USA: Call the Human Trafficking Hotline at +1 888-373-7888 or contact them here
Mexico: Call the National Helpline Against trafficking in Persons at 01 800 5533 000
UK: Call the Modern Slavery Helpline at 08000 121 700 or make a report online

If you are not in the countries listed above, please see the Global Modern Slavery Directory

patrick omondi
2 years ago

kindly advice how to report such cases when you come across them and how gorverment tend to deal with them