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Foreign domestic workers' living conditions survey

Foreign domestic workers' living conditions survey

by IDWFED published Jun 18, 2016 12:00 AM
Contributors: A report by Tay Wei Yu, for Transient Workers Count Too
Transient Workers Count Too found that 5% of foreign domestic workers had to share their sleeping space with a male teenager or adult. This is against written law, with a possible fine of up to $10,000. The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) confirmed this when the ministry responded to a query by the Straits Times.

Resource Type

Research reports, working paper


The face-to-face (but anonymous) survey was conducted over a two-year period from June 2014 to May 2016. A total of 472 valid responses were collected from various locations where foreign domestic workers (FDWs) tended to gather on Sundays. We had mainly Filipinas and Indonesians in our survey sample, but there were also a number of Burmese and other nationalities.

FDWs’ vulnerability has several dimensions. One of them comes from the fact that they have to live with the households that they work for. The lack of delineation between their living space and their working place may increase the possibility of abuse and mistreatment. These may not be acute, such as being beaten or deprived of food — cases which have surfaced in the courts and the news recently — but unsatisfactory living conditions can produce chronic misery. Over time, the accumulated effects on workers’ self-esteem, well-being and mental health may be substantial.



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