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Beyond Survival: Organizing to End Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers

Beyond Survival: Organizing to End Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers

by IDWFED published Jan 27, 2015 02:06 PM
There is growing evidence that domestic workers are victimized by human trafficking more than any other group of workers in the United States. Worldwide, millions of employers who use threats and coercion to pay domestic workers no or very low wages rake in illegal profits of nearly $8 billion a year. Yet domestic workers who survived human trafficking are more than victims. They live at the intersection of many identities, and human trafficking does not define them. As organizers, they can move beyond just survival and into visionary leadership.
Research reports, working paper

Beyond Survival: Organizing to End Human Trafficking of Domestic Workers

Around the world, an estimated 52 million people are employed as domestic workers, providing services such as child care, cleaning, and elder care, in private homes.

In the United States alone,official estimates indicate that about two million people are engaged in such work, but because of the large number of undocumented immigrants involved, the real number is likely much higher.

While there is not yet nationally representative data about trafficking and forced labor in domestic work, there are a number of smaller studies, as well as individual cases, that have shed light on the problem and helped shape an analysis of how and why exploitation manifests.

The main arenas of the trafficking debate have focused on trafficking of sex workers and children. Those who have been trafficked for the purpose of supplying low-cost domestic work are often overlooked. While there is a great deal of overlap between different types of trafficking, the specific forms of labor exploitation associated with domestic worker trafficking deserve more focused attention. This report provides an overview of the problem of domestic worker trafficking. It then draws on the experiences of NDWA and our allies to put forward detailed recommendations for action at multiple levels. .

Our overall view is that addressing this issue adequately will require a rights-based framework that tackles root causes and promotes basic immigration and labor rights. Therefore, our recommendations for governments— in the United States and around the world—cover a broad range of agencies and types of actions— from visa reform to more effective investigation of wage violations.

At the same time, we believe that nongovernmental organizations, with workers in the lead, are key to building the power necessary to end trafficking of domestic workers. Our recommendations for service providers and advocacy groups emphasize the need for leadership development among workers and survivors. Because human trafficking is a long-term structural problem, the recommendations in this report are only a first step. We look forward to working with allies inside and outside governments to build on these proposals for undoing the structural barriers to ending domestic worker abuse.

PDF document beyond_survival_campaign_report_summary_final.pdf — PDF document, 421 KB
PDF document beyond_survival_campaign_report_full-_final.pdf — PDF document, 56.80 MB
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Forced Labour, Dignity of Domestic Workers
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