Caritas Stresses Protection for Domestic Workers

Warns Against Modern Forms of Slavery

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ROME, MARCH 9, 2010 ( Domestic workers are in increasing demand, and yet they often lack the same protection as other laborers, says Caritas.

The aid agency is calling on government authorities and international leaders to protect migrants and others who work in other people’s homes as maids, nannies and caregivers.

It pointed out that these workers, mostly women, are «frequently trafficked and exploited.»

Caritas added that they can rarely claim legal protection, and abuse may go unnoticed as they work in private homes.

Martina Liebsch, Director of Policy for Caritas Internationalis, said, «Apart from the risk of abuse, domestic workers may have no social security protection, can be overworked and underpaid.

«Many fear their employers’ reprisals if they complain to the authorities and thus continue to live as modern day slaves.»

Caritas is calling for the same protection in the workplace for domestic workers as exists for other laborers.

It is appealing to the International Labour Organization, the U.N. body responsible for worldwide employment standards, to create provisions for domestic migrant workers that will not bind their work or residence permits to an individual employer.

In June the labor organization plans to consider a draft convention on the protection of domestic workers’ rights.

Caritas is also calling for the creation of a system that will enable workers to file complaints.

It suggested the establishment of intermediaries between domestic laborers and their employers in order to assure compliance with laws and assess job performance.

The aid agency urged governments to create channels for legal migration for those people wishing to fill the increasing demand for domestic workers in other countries.

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