Global lockdowns as a result of COVID-19 have resulted in some live-in domestic workers being trapped with their employers. In Spain, a country with the most domestic workers in Europe, the majority of these workers live with their employers – increasing their risk of exploitation.
Isabella and Maria (not their real names) describe in a BBC report the abuse they have had to endure at the hands of their employers. Isabella was allowed just a cup of coffee for dinner and had to constantly refuse her employers’ sexual advances.
Some workers, like Maria, report being imprisoned in their employers’ home. Maria explained, “I could only keep in touch with the outside world on my phone, not able to set foot on the street.”
Watch the BBC report below.
Edith Espinola from SEDOAC, a domestic workers’ union in Spain said, “We have a motto: ‘live-in maids are modern slaves.” Around 100 women have sought support from Edith during the pandemic.
Domestic workers in Spain are made vulnerable to modern slavery partly because they don’t enjoy the same rights as other workers. But there is a global standard to protect domestic workers called Convention 189, and Spain has yet to ratify.
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