Cleaning up the Industry: Improving Protections for Precarious and Child Domestic Workers
FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL
Fordham International Law Journal
Copyright c 2018 by the authors. Fordham International Law Journal is produced by The
Berkeley Electronic Press (bepress). https://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/ilj
CLEANING UP THE INDUSTRY:
“I have to get up at 4 a.m. and work up to 10 p.m. I
wash the laundry, clean the house, do the dishes, buy
things at the market, and look after the children. I am
told I get GNF 15,000 [about $2.50] per month, but I
have never seen that money. Shortly after I came, I fell
sick. The lady accused me of faking it and refusing to
work. Since that day, I have often been sick but I never
say so. I am beaten. When I take too long here, I may
be beaten. Whenever I want to take a rest, the lady
says I did not come to rest, but to work, and beats me
with an electric cord or a piece of tire and pulls my
ears. It happens as soon as I take a break.” –
Fourteen-year-old Thérèse I.1
DEFINING THE PROBLEM – CHALLENGES IN
DEFINING AND PROTECTING DOMESTIC
A. Defining Domestic Work .......................................1342
B. A Background on Adult & Child Domestic
* J.D., Cum Laude, Fordham University School of Law 2018. The author has worked for
the International Domestic Workers Federation in Hong Kong and on a contractual basis as a
report writer for the International Labour Organization. In 2015, she co-founded a Hong
Kongregistered non-profit calling on the Hong Kong government to end the systematic abuse of
migrant domestic workers.
1. Excerpt taken from HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH, BOTTOM OF THE LADDER: EXPLOITATION
AND ABUSE OF GIRL DOMESTIC WORKERS IN GUINEA 54 (2012).
1336 FORDHAM INTERNATIONAL LAW JOURNAL
III. INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS ........................1349
A. Convention 189 ......................................................1349
1. Successes of C189............................................1351
2. Shortcomings of C189 .....................................1352
3. Recommendation 201 ......................................1353
B. The Eradication of Child Labor .............................1354
1. Convention 182................................................1354
2. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the
IV. ‘LEGISLATIVE PRECARIOUSNESS’ - HISTORICAL
SHORTCOMINGS OF DESTINATION COUNTRY
A. Challenges in Legislation .......................................1358
1. Forced Labor....................................................1359
2. Occupational Safety and Health.......................1360
3. Trade Union Participation................................1361
4. Access to Justice ..............................................1362
B. Favoring the Powerful: Balancing Rights ..............1363
1. Employer’s Privacy..........................................1364
2. Domestic Worker’s Rights...............................1365
V. CONNECTING DOMESTIC WORK AND CHILD
A. Differences between Adult and Child DWs ...........1371
1. Education .........................................................1372
2. Consent ............................................................1373
3. Employers ........................................................1373
4. Limitations of this Approach ...........................1374
B. Similar Risk Factors: Adult and Child DWs..........1374
1. Dependency on Employer & Power
2. Social Isolation and Poor Living Conditions ...1376
3. Risk of No or Little Pay ...................................1377
4. Abusive Working Hours ..................................1378
5. Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse............1379
VI. USING SIMILARITIES TO ENHANCE RIGHTS
A. Basic Rights ...........................................................1381
The most abusive forms of child labor are often thought to be
trafficking for sexual exploitation or excessive working hours in
factories. While these labor abuses do exist, the reality is that some of
the most abusive forms of child labor occur in the private homes of
wealthy and middle-class families in the form of domestic work. If it is
true that criminals are best deterred by the likelihood of apprehension,2
then governments are complicit in some of the most abusive forms of
child labor by their continued failure to appropriately regulate the
domestic work industry and criminalize those that exploit child
workers, as required by widely-ratified international conventions.3
Due to the isolated environment of their job, domestic workers
(“DW” or “DWs”) are inherently less able to organize, bargain, and
push for improved legal protections. These problems are often
compounded due to age, education, gender, socio-economic status,
race, and migration status.4 Abuses are not relegated only to countries
with limited resources or governance: the worst forms of child labor,
abusive working conditions, and human trafficking continue to occur
in industrialized nations including the United States, France, and the
Netherlands.5 Promulgation of the International Labour Organization’s
(“ILO”) Convention 189 (“C189”) was an organizational success for
domestic workers and their advocates, and it thrust regulation and
oversight of the industry into the realm of State governments, who had
long ignored or dismissed it.6 Despite this, domestic workers like
Thérèse remain particularly vulnerable. Because they are still often
seen as part of the informal labor force, many countries do not extend
labor protections to domestic workers, particularly migrants.7 Nor do
many countries effectively prosecute, investigate or even criminalize
abuse of domestic workers.8 While twenty-four states ratified C189,
the majority have not taken action at all.9 Prevention of the worst forms
of abusive labor in domestic work can be complex, and touches human
rights, criminal, labor, and immigration laws.
In contrast to the lack of sympathy afforded to adult domestic
workers, countries are overwhelmingly sympathetic to issues
concerning the eradication of child labor. The UN Convention on the
Rights of Child (“UNCRC”) has 196 parties and 140 signatories, and
the ILO Convention 182 on the Worst Forms of Child Labour (“C182”)
has 180 signatories.10 Many adult domestic workers share experiences
similar to Thérèse’s.11 However, the extent of legal and social
protections at their disposal may vary depending on their age.
Child domestic work is not always the ‘worst form’ of child
labor.12 The worst forms of child labor include compulsory labor or
labor that may harm the health, safety, or morals of the child.13
Therefore, in domestic work, the ‘worst forms’ of child labor are
situations in which the child is not able to leave the employment
situation because of force or coercion, or is subject to abusive
10. United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Nov. 20, 1989, 1577 U.N.T.S.
3, 28 I.L.M. 1448,
https://treaties.un.org/pages/viewdetails.aspx?src=treaty&mtdsg_no=iv11&chapter=4&lang=en [hereinafter UNCRC] (alternatively referred to as UNCROC)
[https://perma.cc/NWK8-F2LT]; Ratifications of C182 - Worst Forms of Child Labour
Convention 1999 (No. 182), INT’L. LABOUR ORG., http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=
NORMLEXPUB:11300:0::NO:11300:P11300_INSTRUMENT_ID:312327:NO (last visited
May 14, 2018) [hereinafter Ratifications of C182] [https://perma.cc/Y82K-2NCG].
11. Abuse of domestic workers is distressingly common, and well (if sporadically)
documented. For a report on the global status of abuse of domestic workers, see generally,
Domestic Workers Across the World, supra note 6, at 19. For an overview of abusive labor
conditions in Hong Kong, see JADE ANDERSON & VICTORIA WISNIEWSKI OTERO, JUSTICE
CNT., COMING CLEAN: THE PREVALENCE OF FORCED LABOUR AND HUMAN TRAFFICKING FOR
THE PURPOSE OF FORCED LABOUR AMONGST MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS IN HONG KONG
(Aideen McLaughlin, ed., 2016).
12. ILO & Int’l Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, [IPEC], Ending Child
Labour in Domestic Work and Protecting Young Workers from Abusive Working Conditions 6
(2013) (“Under Convention No. 182, child domestic work was not explicitly defined as a worst
form of child labour; however, it was acknowledged that some situations could be considered as
worst forms of child labour”) [hereinafter Ending Child Labour]. The worst forms of child labor
are: “(a) all forms of slavery or practices similar to slavery, such as the sale and trafficking of
children, debt bondage and serfdom and forced or compulsory labour, including forced or
compulsory recruitment of children for use in armed conflict; (b) the use, procuring or offering
of a child for prostitution, for the production of pornography or for pornographic performances;
(c) the use, procuring or offering of a child for illicit activities, in particular for the production
and trafficking of drugs as defined in the relevant international treaties; (d) work which, by its
nature or the circumstances in which it is carried out, is likely to harm the health, safety or morals
of children.” ILO, Worst Forms of Child Labour Convention, 1999 (No. 182), art. 3(d), June 17,
1999, 2133 U.N.T.S. 161 [hereinafter C182].
13. C182, supra note 12.
conditions that could harm their health and safety.14 In the worst cases,
domestic work can amount to human trafficking.15 To eradicate these
worst practices in child domestic labor, countries must adopt policies
and frameworks for doing so – frameworks that would inherently
improve protections for adult domestic workers.16
Unlike factory work or agricultural work, domestic work takes
place in a private home, making its regulation different from, and more
challenging than, other industries. The ILO has suggested formalizing
the domestic work economy to prevent abuse in the industry, for
example by requiring written employment contracts and ensuring
access to judicial mechanisms.17 These protections help to protect
domestic workers against harmful and compelled working
conditions.18 Human rights, including labor rights, are understood to be
inherent to each individual.19 Therefore, excluding adult DWs from
protective human rights regimes is not in keeping with the
understanding that human rights apply equitably to all humans. It
would be impractical, if not impossible, to require written employment
contracts for children and not recognize the same contract once the
worker reaches adult age.20
Thus, preventing the worst forms of child domestic labor requires
effective oversight of the industry as a whole. The most effective
rights-based advocacy would cement the overlap between child labor
and domestic work in the eyes of policy makers and the broader
community. This Note argues that domestic worker advocates should
utilize international legal frameworks and domestic law pertaining to
eradication of the worst forms of child domestic labor to strengthen the
rights of all domestic workers.
The first objective of this Note is to solidify the connection
between adult and child DWs within a human rights-based framework.
The second objective is to argue that states must take steps to regulate
the industry as a necessary component of their international legal
obligations to eradicate the worst forms of child labor. Part II defines
domestic work and domestic workers, and describes their historical role
as informal caregivers. Part III introduces C189 and its accompanying
Recommendation 201 (“R201”), Convention 182 on the Worst Forms
of Child Labour and the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
Part IV discusses the legislative precariousness of domestic workers
and elucidates the particular difficulties in regulating the domestic
work industry. Part V highlights the primary legal differences between
adult and child DWs. This Part then describes the numerous similarities
between the two groups to establish a foundation for the approach
advocated in Part VI. Part VI uses the commonalities shared by child
and adult DWs to propose that countries should act on their obligations
to honor and protect particular human rights. This Part also addresses
the hypocrisy of countries who desire ‘on paper’ to protect the most
vulnerable child workers, while failing to implement policies and legal
mechanisms that would oversee the domestic work industry, in which
so many children are kept in abusive forms of child labor. Finally, in
Part VII, this Note provides three broad avenues through which
advocates can push their governments to protect domestic workers
from the worst forms of abusive labor.
II. DEFINING THE PROBLEM – CHALLENGES IN DEFINING
AND PROTECTING DOMESTIC LABORERS
Though global trends are moving towards the formalization of
domestic work, the lines between domestic work and informal work
can be unclear. It is therefore first necessary to define domestic work,
domestic workers, child domestic workers, and their advocates. These
definitions require a brief review of the social history of the domestic
work industry as informal work, or an economic activity that is
insufficiently covered by formal legal or practical arrangements.21
Defining Domestic Work
Nearly a century passed between the creation of the International
Labour Organization in 191922 and the formal recognition of domestic
workers’ rights in 2011 in the form of C189 on Decent Work for
Domestic Workers.23 One of many reasons for the delay is the intimate
nature of the domestic work and workplace.24 C189 defines a domestic
worker as someone who performs work in or for a household or
Though C189 provides a definition of domestic work, identifying
domestic work in practice can be a challenge. In many communities,
children perform domestic work such as cooking, cleaning, and child
care for younger siblings or others as a necessary and accepted part of
life.26 In impoverished communities, children, often female, are tasked
with caring for their families or others, sometimes earning a small wage
to assist their parents in providing for their families.27 Even in wealthy
countries, domestic duties are often assigned to women without
payment.28 The fight for recognition of domestic work as work29 has
its roots in gendered beliefs that domestic work is done out of love and
affection, rather than as a means of sustenance.30
Domestic work is still often seen as part of the informal economy,
as opposed to the formal labor force. The US National Labor Relations
Act, for example, explicitly excludes any individual undertaking work
or service in the home.31 Domestic work is sometimes seen as training
for a woman’s future role as a mother.32 This perception leads to a
danger of commodification of women’s labor.33 This is particularly
true when a domestic worker lives with her employer, as she gives up
various freedoms that would come with living on her own.34
Even the ILO has historically failed to adequately protect
domestic workers on par with other workers through its international
conventions. Though some conventions expressly includ domestic
service within their scope, many permitt the exclusion of domestic
28. The United States is one of many examples of this. Hila Shamir, Between Home and
Work: Assessing the Distributive Effects of Employment Law in Markets of Care, 30 BERKELEY
J. EMP. & LAB. L. 404, 455-56 (2009); see Bryce Covert, Putting a Price Tag on Unpaid
Housework, FORBES (May 30, 2012), https://www.forbes.com/sites/brycecovert/2012/05/30/
putting-a-price-tag-on-unpaid-housework/#1dcea8a835c6 [https://perma.cc/4C7M-EZHK]; see
also Rebecca M. Horne et al., Time, Money, or Gender? Predictors of the Division of Household
Labour Across Life Stages, SEX ROLES (2017) (finding that women assume more housework
than their male counterparts across all age groups).
29. This phrase describes the conception of domestic work as work like any other
formalized industry, as opposed to domestic labor performed outside of a formal employment
relationship and in the privacy of the home. Asha D’Souza, Int’l Labour Org., Moving Towards
Decent Work for Domestic Workers: An Overview of the ILO’s Work, 23, 73, 81, (working
Paper 2/2010, 2010).
30. Boris, supra note 7, at 83; see also Int’l Labour Conference, [ILC], Report
)Decent Work for Domestic Workers, ¶ 18 (June 16, 2010) (referring to domestic work as a
“labour of love”) [hereinafter Report IV(
31. United States National Labor Relations Act, 29 U.S.C. §152(
32. ILO & IPEC, Ending Child Labor, supra note 12, at 2.
33. Mantouvalou, supra note 4, at 164; Shamir, supra note 28, at 434-43.
34. For example, some employers with live-in domestic workers restrict their freedom to
come and go as they please by setting curfews, restricting the time and ability of the worker to
entertain friends at the home or use resources at the home such as the internet or air conditioning,
and restricting private space by requiring the domestic worker to share a room or sleep in a space
used during the day. See Tom Grundy, Hong Kong Domestic Workers Made to Live in
Bathrooms, Closets, on Balconies and Roofs, HONG KONG FREE PRESS (May 10, 2017, 19:45),
https://www.hongkongfp.com/2017/05/10/hong-kong-domestic-workers-made-to-live-inbathrooms-closets-on-balconies-and-roofs/ [https://perma.cc/4ZLM-7HKP]; see also Jun Pang,
HONG KONG FREE PRESS Aug. 14, 2017, 10:53),
workers through ‘flexibility clauses.’35 The Dominican Republic
refused to extend the 1990 Night Work Convention no. 171 to DWs.
Likewise, the Netherlands refused to extend the 1994 Part-time Work
Convention no. 175 to DWs.36 States including Bolivia, Chile, Egypt,
France, Guyana, Uruguay, Yemen and Zambia refused to extend the
1970 Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 to DWs.37 The
language of minimum wage statutes in countries including Guatemala,
the Republic of Korea, Lebanon, the Netherlands, and Sri Lanka also
seem to implicitly exclude domestic workers from the minimum wage
in breach of Convention 131’s procedural requirements.38
A Background on Adult & Child Domestic Workers
Understanding DWs requires understanding the social
underpinnings of how communities value their work. Women account
for eighty-three percent of all domestic workers,39 and globally one in
every thirteen female wage workers is a domestic worker, a 7.5 percent
total.40 A domestic worker is defined as a person who performs work
in or for a household or households, while a child domestic worker is
someone who does this work and is between the ages of 5 and 17.41
This Note uses the term “domestic worker” to refer to all those who
perform work in or for a household(s), regardless of age. Children who
perform chores or unpaid work in their own household are not included
in this definition.42
35. Flexibility clauses typically require notice of exclusion at the time of ratification.
ILC, Report IV(
), supra note 30; see also Smith, supra note 4, at 169.
36. ILC, Report IV(
), supra note 30, at 20.
37. Id. at 22.
38. Id. (“Guatemala, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, the Netherlands and Sri Lanka seem to
exclude domestic workers from the scope of the minimum wage legislation without a clear
indication of fulfilment of procedural requirements under Art. 1, para. 3, of Convention No.
39. For this reason and the sake of simplicity, I use feminine pronouns when discussing
domestic workers, while still recognizing that male domestic workers are included in these
40. Domestic Workers Across the World, supra note 6, at 19.
41. C189, supra note 23, art. (
)(a-b); ‘Child labor’ can have different definitions based
on the type of work and age of the child. See What is Child Labor, INT’L LABOUR ORG.,
http://www.ilo.org/ipec/facts/lang--en/index.htm (last visited May 14, 2018)
[https://perma.cc/P6PA-WNKN]. Here I use the term ‘child domestic worker’ to refer to anyone
below the age of 18 undertaking domestic work.
42. C189, supra note 23 art. (
Though domestic work can provide a valuable entry point into the
gainful labor market, poor working conditions and inadequate legal
protections disproportionately affect women and help to perpetuate
gender and wage disparities.43 During the 1970s, feminists in the
United States led the charge against discrimination in the employment
of women.44 Following the Civil Rights Movement of the 1970s the
devaluing of particular types of work was also framed around race.45 A
US Senator on the Labor and Education Committee in the 1970s noted
that “the lack of respect accorded domestics is in many ways an
unfortunate reflection of the value we place on the traditional role of
women in our society.”46
It is important to briefly note here the role that lack of workable
and affordable child and elderly care options plays in the continued
reliance on domestic workers for care work.47 The US labor market for
example, makes it difficult for unskilled women to find jobs with
salaries sufficient to cover childcare.48 Lack of child care alternatives
43. Smith, supra note 4, at 161; see also ILC, Report IV(
), supra note 30, ¶ 63. For more
on wage disparities see Bangladesh Shishu Adhikar Forum, [BASF], Hidden Slavery: Child
Domestic Work, 47 (Mar. 2016) (noting that in a study conducted in Bangladesh, for all ages
ranges, male child domestic workers made more than their female counterparts).
44. EILEEN BORIS & JENNIFER KLEIN, CARING FOR AMERICA: HOME HEALTH WORKERS
IN THE SHADOW OF THE WELFARE STATE 130 (2012).
46. Id. (quoting Senator Harrison Arlington Williams Jr. (D-NJ)).
47. See DANIEL A. BELL, CHINA’S NEW CONFUCIANISM: POLITICS AND EVERYDAY LIFE
IN A CHANGING SOCIETY 72 (2008) (noting that in Hong Kong, preference for foreign domestic
workers may be explained by lack of quality daycare); Arijit Nandi et al.,
The Effect of an Affordable Daycare Program on Health and Economic Well-being in Rajasthan,
India: Protocol for a Cluster-Randomized Impact Evaluation Study, 16 BMC PUBLIC HEALTH,
no. 460, 2016, at 1, 2 (noting that the provision of affordable daycare has the potential to reduce
gender inequality by allowing poor women to join the labor force); ABIGAIL BESS BAKAN &
DAIVA K. STASIULIS, NOT ONE OF THE FAMILY: FOREIGN DOMESTIC WORKERS IN CANADA
107 (1997) (arguing that the Canadian government should recognize the lack of affordable child
care and allow tax deductions for the employment of domestic workers); Rachel Moussié,
WIEGO, UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Development,
Child Care from the Perspective of Women in the Informal Economy 1 (Sep. 2016) (noting that
childcare is inaccessible to and unaffordable for low paid workers, contributing to the cycle of
poverty); NAT’L WOMEN’S L. CTR., LISTENING TO WORKERS: CHILD CARE CHALLENGES IN
LOW WAGE JOBS 5 (June 2014) (noting that women in the United States tend to rely on informal
care by friends, family, or neighbors due to the lack of affordable care options).
48. Shamir, supra note 28, at 440-41; see also Daniela Del Boca, The Impact of Child
Care Costs and Availability on Mothers’ Labor Supply 15 (ImPRovE Working Paper No. 15/04,
2015) (“In the U.S. . . . mothers’ labor supply is quite sensitive to costs variations.”).
may cause an employer to call for domestic workers to work long
Domestic workers tend to migrate from poorer areas to wealthier
ones.49 In addition to the type of work they undertake, domestic
workers are rendered uniquely vulnerable because of an intersection of
migration, education, race, socio-economic status and often gender.50
Employers of domestic workers are often women, “characterized by a
difference of status that the latter is often keen to maintain.”51 This
further reflects the perception that home and care work is the
responsibility of women.52
The origins of labor law conceptualized work or labor as
industrialized labor,53 rather than caring work, which was a historically
female role and one that continues to be undertaken by women.54
Emotional, physical, and sexual abuse are commonly committed
against domestic workers, particularly those that live with employers.55
In Brazil, domestic workers are second largest group of female
domestic violence victims after housewives.56
Without effective support to help break workers out of poverty,
domestic work becomes cyclical, as women pass the role onto their
children. Many Sri Lankan women undertake domestic work in Middle
Eastern countries and leave their children with extended family
members, for whom the children work.57 Other contributing factors that
lead children into domestic work include lack of educational
opportunities, fleeing a forced marriage, domestic violence,
displacement, or the loss of a family member from conflict or disease.58
In addition to explicit exclusions from a number of ILO
Conventions, domestic workers are often excluded from labor laws that
would protect an industrial worker.59 The home countries from which
migrant workers come are called ‘origin countries’, and the countries
they migrate to are ‘destination countries’. Migrant Domestic Workers
(“MDWs”) may even be subject to different labor standards than other
migrants.60 DWs may be less likely to expose abuse, pursue a legal case
against employers, or leave an abusive employer if they could be
exposed to deportation, a countersuit or criminal proceedings.61 This
fear effectively limits their access to the justice system.62
Some jurisdictions have restrictive visa regimes for domestic
workers. For example, countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council63
utilize the Kafala64 sponsorship system, which links immigration status
to a particular employer.65 This gives the employer complete control
over the employee’s ability to change employment or leave the
Finally, non-legal problems such as political and cultural barriers
prevent domestic workers from reporting abuse.67 Where abuse is
reported, legal mechanisms that fail to account for differences in
education, language skills, and financial circumstances can be
ineffective.68 The culmination of these various identities and lack of
accommodating policies creates social and legal hurdles that can be
nearly impossible for domestic workers to overcome.
This Note uses the terms ‘advocacy’ and ‘advocates’ broadly to
incorporate all those working towards improved conditions in the
domestic work industry. Primarily, advocates are trade unions, civil
society organizations, international human rights organizations and
domestic workers themselves. Secondarily, advocates include
government bodies, think tanks, and academics. Advocacy, as used in
this Note, involves a wide variety of methods, including campaigns,
awareness raising, research, academic studies and impact litigation,
among others. These terms are used to give context and color to the
groups and individuals whom have been responsible for DWs’ past
international and domestic legislative successes.
65. The Kafala System is a method of strictly controlling the foreign labor force. In Kafala,
an employer applies for, dictates and controls the terms of stay for a domestic employee, creating
a large power differential. The system was introduced to restrict migration from less wealthy
Arab countries to the UAE, and workers of African or Asian origin were considered “more
docile” and thus preferred. Asia Pacific Mission for Migrants, The Kafala: Research on the
Impact and Relation of the Sponsorship System to Migrant Labor Bondage in GCC Countries
24-26 (Sept. 2014).
66. Id. at 24; see also Migrant Forum Asia, Policy Brief No. 2: Reform of the Kafala
67. Int’l Labour Office, Promoting Fair Migration: General Survey Concerning the
Migrant Workers Instruments, ¶ 489, 105th Session (2016) (“[I]nformation provided by a
number of trade unions stating that it is unreasonable to expect migrant workers to enforce their
rights through the court system without provision of specific assistance . . . the [International
Trade Union Confederation] referred to practical challenges migrant workers may face, such as
limited language skills, inability to meet legal fees and lack of understanding of the country’s
68. Id. (noting that granting access to justice is the duty of a State, and it is unreasonable
to expect domestic workers who may lack language and financial resources to access it without
69. C189, supra note 23, preamble.
III. INTERNATIONAL CONVENTIONS
Part III covers international law and its provisions that are most
relevant to domestic workers. C189, promulgated in 2011, serves as the
primary source of international law regarding labor standards for
domestic workers. C189 is accompanied by R201, which elaborates on
C189’s underlying rights. Two conventions are of particular relevance
to the eradication of domestic child labor: The UN Convention on the
Rights of the Child and the ILO Convention 182 on the Eradication of
the Worst Forms of Child Labour.
C189 was promulgated to recognize the undervalued and invisible
domestic work undertaken primarily by women and girls. 69 Though
domestic work was long considered to be the domain of the private
home, as more women enter the labor force,70 demand for domestic
work has grown, reaching 52.6 million workers in 2010. 71 The
improved ease of migration and improvement of technology facilitating
the sending of remittances makes migrating for domestic work easier
than ever before. Since the early 2000s, high profile cases helped to
shine a light on abuse of domestic workers, particularly where they
were brought to developed countries by foreign diplomats.72
Technology has also helped push domestic workers’ rights to the fore
by enabling DWs to document abuses on cellphones.73
The ILO first considered legislating on domestic workers in 1948,
and again in 1965, however this never came to fruition.74 Instead,
during sessions in 1948 and 1965 the Committees settled on passing
resolutions related to the employment of domestic work.75 In 2007, a
brief to the ILO Governing Body highlighted the link between domestic
work and its ‘decent work agenda’, which prioritized the elimination
of discrimination in employment, the elimination of forced labor, and
the abolition of child labor.76 The brief noted that the incidence of child
labor in domestic work was widespread and that “girls dominate in
domestic work.”77 The brief specifically contemplates an additional
Convention protecting the nearly 100 million global workers under the
age of 18 which would complement C182 and C138, the Minimum Age
Convention.78 C189 recognizes that child domestic workers, migrant
workers, and live-in workers are at particular risk of exploitation.79
These early movements of C189 show its inherent links to the ILO’s
goal of eradicating child labor.
Some employer groups,80 where they existed, were opposed to the
creation of a Convention, and disliked standard-setting in the area,
particularly around the provision of social security and labor
inspections.81 An ILO delegate from Bangladesh doubted whether
employers of domestic workers were sophisticated enough in their
legal knowledge to comply with international labor standards.82
Further, traditionalists at the ILO found the suggestion of setting
domestic work standards as “unexpected and puzzling.”83
Despite these hesitations, in the first five years after C189 was
promulgated, over seventy ILO member states have taken steps to
improve the situation of domestic workers within their borders.84
Thirty states successfully adopted reforms to extend labor and legal
protections to domestic workers and eighteen are considering
extending protections.85 The remaining twenty-four countries have
signed and ratified C189.86 Since ratification, the ILO has provided
assistance to at least sixty countries on the formation of bilateral treaties
covering domestic labor, child labor, and forced labor.87 Noticeably
absent from the signatories list are many destination countries for
migrant domestic labor: primarily developed economies in Asia and the
Middle East.88 None of the ‘Kafala’ countries have ratified C189.89
Successes of C189
C189 formally recognizes the rights of domestic workers for the
first time. It includes comprehensive obligations spanning economic,
social and cultural rights as well as civil and political rights.90 Bringing
domestic workers into the ILO’s tripartite system benefits domestic
workers, who lack a voice in policy-making because of inequalities in
bargaining power.91 C189 also brings domestic work within the ILO’s
Decent Work Agenda, an initiative to secure the right to decent work
for all workers.92 The Decent Work Agenda involves ILO monitoring
and assessment, data collection, policy analysis, and country profiling
for compliance.93 Article 7 of C189 requires that DWs be informed of
their work terms and conditions, preferably through written contracts.94
Thus, the Convention could move workers from the informal sector
into a formal work situation.95 Additionally, these rights have begun to
be incorporated in other ILO instruments.96
Shortcomings of C189
The definition of domestic work “within an employment
relationship” has been criticized due to the occasionally ambiguous
nature of an employment relationship.97 The ILO defines employment
as “performing some work for wage or salary in cash or in kind.”98 This
can be problematic in the domestic work industry where benefits are
given, but not explicitly exchanged for work. For example, a young
woman working in her aunt’s home may receive lodging or food.
Though this could be considered an ‘in kind’ benefit, her aunt could
argue that such benefits are not conditional on the working relationship,
and therefore the situation would fall outside the legal definition of an
employment relationship. Employers could thus abuse this definition
to conceal employment relationships.99 Additionally, C189’s definition
excludes those not in an employment relationship,100 which effectively
excludes DWs working for agencies, who are self-employed, or work
on a casual basis.101
C189 uses primarily non-binding language. For example, Article
9 states that domestic workers are ‘free to reach an agreement’ with
their employers on whether to reside in the home.102 This falls short of
asserting that a DW has the right to live away from the place of
employment. Employers cannot be held directly accountable under
C189. While C189 requires that States shall provide enforcement
mechanisms against abusive employment agencies, it makes no
mention of what these may look like.103 Agencies commit a variety of
abuses against migrant domestic workers, including confiscation of
travel documents and wages.104 C189 requires simply that States
provide penalties for abusive agencies.105 It does not demand that
signatories make changes to how employers or agencies are held
Recommendation 201 While C189 is a binding document, R201 is an accompanying and non-binding recommendation that further clarifies the nature of the
Emotional, Physical and Sexual Abuse
A system that places disproportionate power in the hands of
employers and isolates workers can, in the worst cases, lead to abuse
and torture.295 Qualitative studies indicate that young domestic workers
face heightened risk of physical, psychosocial, emotional and sexual
abuse.296 In a survey of child domestic workers in six countries, many
stated that their employers used physical punishment.297 Physical
violence consisted of beating, pinching, kicking, whipping, scalding
with hot water, overworking, and denying food.298 The same survey
found that CDWs often showed signs of emotional stress when
compared with a control group, including drops in their sense of
personal pride and their perceived ability to rely on adults or friends.299
Lack of support networks can also leave DWs prone to emotional
abuse, particularly where employers use ethnicity- or race-based
insults.300 Though adult domestic workers may be able to assume risks
such as social isolation or long working hours, they cannot
unknowingly assume the risk of illegal physical, emotional or sexual
abuse at the hands of their employers. Further, anecdotal evidence
shows that cultural and social acceptance of violence as an
occupational hazard may render DWs less likely to report it, even
where they are familiar with the avenues for doing so.301
Discrimination based on age, religion, gender, class, and national
origin can contribute to societal attitudes toward domestic workers.
These biases affect the value of the work done and the treatment of
DWs.302 “Humiliation”, “treated worse than dogs”303 and “they respect
their animals more” 304 have been used to describe the emotional abuse
domestic workers of different age groups have faced in their work.
VI. USING SIMILARITIES TO ENHANCE RIGHTS PROTECTION
The similarities above indicate that there are systemic problems
in the domestic work industry. However, governments, including
developed economies, still often fail to appropriately monitor the
industry, prevent abuse, and even punish those responsible for the
worst forms of domestic labor.305 Evidence shows that workers can
become victims of the above abuses, regardless of their age. 306
Industry wide protection should therefore be adopted that would
respect the rights of both children and adults engaging in domestic
work. These protections should target the elimination of illegal and
exploitative domestic work.
Basic labor protections must be implemented by governments to
eradicate the worst forms of child labor in domestic work.307 Unions
and NGOs, though playing a pivotal role, should not be solely
responsible for the eradication of these labor abuses. Advocates can use
the connection between CDWs and DWs to encourage governments to
comply with industry-wide basic labor standards they have already
agreed to abide by under the international frameworks.308
This Note divides relevant labor rights from ILO Conventions 189
and 182 into two categories. The first are basic rights, which this Note
argues have equal application to both children and adult DWs. These
rights are not intended to be exhaustive, but have been chosen as the
most pressing rights affecting both groups. These rights include the
right to be free from forced labor, the right to occupational health, the
right to social security, the right to remuneration, trade union rights and
the freedom of association, the right to gender equality and
nondiscrimination, and equal treatment under the law. In the second
category, this Note places rights that are not generally applicable to or
appropriate in regard to child labor, including the rights to abode and
resident, and maternity rights. It is unlikely that domestic workers can
demand these rights in conjunction with the eradication of child labor.
By dividing rights into basic rights and rights that are not
applicable, this Note highlights which rights violations can be
affirmatively linked to child labor abuses. Achieving C182’s goal of
eradicating the most abusive forms of child labor309 would have
industry-wide impacts that would also prevent adult DWs from falling
into conditions of labor exploitation.
Here, there are two points of note. First, it is crucial that any
government regulation not be so stringent as to push the industry
underground. For example, if registering a CDW with a government
entity necessitated that a labor inspector be able to enter the home
without notice at any time, employers would be unlikely to comply
with the registration regulations, and the practice would go unchecked.
Policies must not demonize employers, who are a crucial component in
protecting DW’s rights. Some employers, rather than seeing
themselves as exploiters of cheap child or migrant labor, may consider
themselves to be helping workers by providing them with a job and
place to live.310 Their narrative is a crucial one to consider in suggesting
and implementing policy change.
Three main factors contribute to the exploitation of domestic
workers. First, a lack of regulation in the labor market.311 Second, an
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abundance of vulnerable workers.312 Finally, social norms allowing
abusive employer behavior.313 Through international obligations
including ILO Conventions, governments are required both to respect
rights and to take affirmative obligations to protect DWs from abuses
by private parties. This affirmative commitment to labor and human
rights can inform a similar requirement for states to do more to protect
the fundamental rights of domestic workers in particular. This Part
provides descriptions of how rights have been interpreted in the past by
various judicial bodies, and how their application to the context of child
labor can inform stronger advocacy approaches. These descriptions
primarily address the first factor contributing to exploitation of
domestic workers: a lack of regulation in the domestic work industry,
though they also touch on the second and third.
1. Forced Labor & Freedom from Economic Exploitation
Some domestic work can rise to the level of forced labor or
economic exploitation.314 Where migrant workers live under a
sponsorship system, they are at increased likelihood of suffering
abusive employment practices and working conditions that could
amount to forced labor.315 The system of abuse often starts before a
domestic worker leaves their home to pursue work: “Fraud,
misinformation about the nature and terms of work, overcharging or
theft of recruitment fees, delays in departure or failure to depart
altogether all make migrant workers more vulnerable to abuse abroad
and less able to change their situations.”316 These factors are
exacerbated by the perception of impunity for the actors who violate
human rights and labor laws. Criminal legal cases concerning
exploitation in domestic work are scarce.317
In Siliadin v. France, a case that influenced the adoption of C189,
the European Court of Human Rights found that a woman was held in
servitude, in contravention of Article 4 of the European Convention of
Human Rights (“ECHR”) against servitude, forced, and compulsory
312. Anderson & O’Connell-Davidson, supra note 311.
314. See infra Part IV.A(
315. The Kafala, see supra note 65, at 24-31.
316. PAOLETTI ET AL., supra note 20, at 26.
317. DemandAT, supra note 5, at 26.
labor.318 A finding of servitude required ascertaining that there was an
obligation to perform services for others and an obligation to live on
another person’s property without the possibility of altering that
condition.319 Siliadin migrated to France at age fifteen, and was forced
to work fifteen hours a day, seven days a week.320 She entered France
to obtain an education, but was forced by her employer/trafficker into
domestic labor.321 She had no money or resources, and was at the mercy
of her employers as her identity documents had been confiscated.322
The Court found that Article 4 of the Convention for the Protection of
Human Rights and Fundamental Freedom323 imposed an affirmative
obligation on states to criminalize private conduct that would violate
Siliadin’s case may be distinguished from the typical migrant
workers’ as she did not choose to work for her employers, which led to
the condition of servitude.325 Her case is also distinct because Europe
has more robust human rights mechanisms than its Asian, African, and
Middle Eastern counterparts where many DWs work.326 However, the
approach in Siliadin can inform progress for realization of domestic
workers rights in other jurisdictions. Though no international human
rights court exists in either the Middle East or Asia, the UNCRC and
C182 require action in the domestic context. Because almost all
countries have agreed to prohibit forced labor and servitude,
particularly for children, Siliadin can be used as a model for requiring
that countries criminalize private conduct that would lead to
exploitation like Siliadin’s. While criminalization itself will not solve
economic exploitation, it serves a social function by rejecting the
outdated social practices of forced labor in domestic work and by
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setting standards of progressive rights realization in domestic work.
Even in jurisdictions where Siliadin is not binding, it makes a
compelling argument that countries that fail to take affirmative
obligations to eradicate slavery in domestic work will be subject to
Not all cases will be as severe as Siliadin’s, rising to the level of
forced servitude. However, a court in a country with a law
criminalizing forced servitude could similarly find that the right is
meaningless without government action to enforce the right, and
therefore encourage countries to act upon their positive obligations to
prevent servitude and compulsory labor in their territories.
Highlighting abuse cases of minors such as Siliadin, and linking these
stories with the prevention of human trafficking can encourage
governments to work to protect victims, and investigate possible
situations of trafficking or servitude in domestic work, regardless of the
age of the victim. This of course, assumes that law enforcement is
capable of recognizing and investigating coercive and forced labor.327
A key to addressing the risk of forced labor is by formalizing the
employment relationship.328 To address concerns of forced labor, the
ILO and other activists have advocated for written contracts as to
employment terms, which can lay out clearly the work schedule
including rest and payment periods.329 Domestic Worker’s unions have
specifically requested formal work contracts with working conditions
clearly listed.330 Contracts are equally important for child workers,
even where employment is short-term or part-time.331 A written
contract, signed by both parties prior to the commencement of work,
allows DWs to have proof of the details of their work relationships and
understand the expectations of the job.332 In the event of a conflict, it
can serve to elucidate any agency fee arrangements or obligations,
particularly where the DW was recruited by a chain of agencies or
327. See Case of C.N., supra note 273 (the British police were alerted to the circumstances
of labor trafficking on a number of occasions, but each time either failed to uncover evidence of
forced labor or otherwise found that no statute existed that would allow prosecutors to hold CN’s
trafficker accountable under criminal law).
328. Social Protection for Domestic Workers, supra note 156, at 24.
329. C189, supra note 23, art. 7 (providing that Convention 189 calls for written contracts,
331. Ending Child Labour, supra note 12, at 78.
332. Promoting Fair Migration, supra note 67, at ¶ 216.
subcontractors.333 South Africa requires holistic ‘written particulars of
the work’, including a brief description of the work, ordinary hours,
rate of wages and payment method, rate for overtime, any payment in
kind, leave entitlement, period of notice upon termination, and possible
In Malawi, CDWs of legal working age have been given formal
work contracts under an ILO program titled SNAP - ‘Support for the
National Action Plan’335 - undertaken as part of Malawi’s national
action plan to combat child labor.336 The Program requires that a young
domestic worker be presented a formal contract listing working hours
and conditions, which is signed by the worker, the village chief, a
representative of child labor monitoring committee and the
employer.337 The existence of a contract has been reported to help both
the employees understand their rights and for employers to understand
what the laws required of them.338 Malawi’s model, designed
specifically for young workers, could inform a broader approach
calling for clear contracts for all domestic workers – the contracts don’t
expire when the workers reach the age of majority. Further, these young
workers will be empowered to ask for formal work contracts as they
An additional solution to eradicating forced labor is to legislate,
implement, and enforce working standards, including minimum wage
and maximum working hours legislation. To enforce these standards,
governments must provide a means for detecting abusive employment
relationships, enabling submission of complaints and mandating
punishments for those in breach. C189 requires decent living
conditions and privacy, which should naturally be extended to children
workers.339 Details about the nature of the living conditions should be
formalized in the contracts. Ensuring adequate living conditions may
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require labor inspections, as noted above, to ensure that the facilities
are as described in the contract.340
Finally, workers must have a say in determining their living
situation – a key component of the Court’s finding of compulsive labor
in Siliadin.341 Live-in employees’ movement and ability to enjoy
leisure time can be restricted. Lack of social and financial resources
compound this problem when abuse arises, and the worker has little
means of escape. Though not all children will be in a position to
determine their own living situation, they should be made aware of
alternatives to living and employment arrangements. Therefore, it is
important that DWs be given options about their living conditions, be
informed about their rights and options, and be empowered to know
that they can negotiate with their employers.
Right to Occupational Health
Domestic workers are prone to a variety of occupational hazards,
because of both the tasks undertaken and the conditions of work.342
These are particularly acute for children, who may lack the proper
education and training necessary to assess these risks and mitigate
them.343 Under Recommendation 190, which accompanied and
elaborated on C189, hazardous work includes that which exposes
children to physical, psychological, or sexual abuse, “hazardous
substances, agents or processes” and “work under particularly difficult
conditions such as work for long hours or during the night or work
where the child is unreasonably confined to the premises of the
employer.”344 The last condition directly calls for protections for
CDWs residing with their employers. R201 also highlights that special
attention must be given to workers under the age of eighteen by limiting
their hours of work, including in night work, restricting excessively
demanding work, and strengthening mechanisms to monitor working
and living conditions.345
340. See supra Part IV.B(
) on employer privacy & labor inspections.
341. Cf. Siliadin, supra note 318, ¶¶ 123-29.
342. See Labour Inspection and Other Compliance Mechanisms, supra note 84, at 9.
343. For more on children in domestic work, see Ending Child Labour, supra note 12, at
344. ILO, Recommendation 190 – Recommendation Concerning the Prohibition and
Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour, II(a)-(e) (June 17,
345. R201, supra note 107, art. V.2.(a)-(d).
Domestic workers often use house cleaning chemicals that can
burn the skin and cause respiratory disorders.346 Tasks such as carrying
heavy loads, gardening and farming with heavy equipment, cooking
with hot pans and using irons can be exhausting and dangerous,
particularly for children or those whom are not getting enough rest
time.347 Working conditions in domestic work remain sub-standard
compared to other labor sectors.348 A study in Vietnam reported that
common illnesses of CDWs included coughs and respiratory problems,
headaches, back pain and wounds.349 The study found that thirty-six
percent of children had been wounded or sick during their service.350
Children in Brazil have reported chronic sleep deprivation, and
psychosocial disorders such as phobia and separation anxiety, while
CDWs in Kenya reported bedwetting, insomnia, nightmares, frequent
headaches, withdrawal and depression.351
The ILO has called for special protection for young domestic
workers by limiting their working hours, banning night work, and
implementing restrictions on work that is excessively demanding.352
While those three protections are specifically tailored to child workers,
standard setting in this area can help legislators to view domestic work
as a human rights and gender concern, informing laws that respect
domestic workers of all ages.353 To prevent occupational health and
safety abuses, governments should require basic safety training for all
individuals entering into domestic work, provided in multiple
languages. This can be framed in terms of benefits to employers by
highlighting that trained workers are more efficient and better able to
contribute to chores.354 Governments could also provide a complaint
hotline for DWs to call, for example if their employer is refusing to
provide protective equipment such as gloves for handling toxic
chemicals. Governments could even go a step further, encouraging or
requiring domestic workers to obtain a certification before being able
to work. A model rolled out in some provinces of China offers different
levels of certifications based upon the number of training courses
Finally, labor inspections of work places could also prove to be
beneficial for occupational safety and health.356 In 2011, a report from
the EU Fundamental Rights Agency examined working conditions of
irregular migrant domestic workers, and concluded that fair working
conditions should provide for labor inspections.357 Sri Lanka has
granted authority to its National Child Protection Authority to enter and
search any premises, including homes, where it believes child abuse is
Right to Social Security
Where workers do become sick, it is important that they have
access to social security benefits, including healthcare, particularly
where other migrant workers have such benefits.359 As of 2013, the ILO
estimated that only ten percent of domestic workers worldwide have
equivalent protections to workers in other industries,360 and many
countries specifically exclude domestic workers from otherwise
mandatory social security schemes.361 Voluntary schemes are often
ineffective. Even where the domestic worker is aware of the scheme,
they face regulatory hurdles to join it, and may struggle to convince
their employers to enroll them.362 The ILO reports that when young
domestic workers fall ill, they risk receiving little or no medical
355. See REPORT – THE STATUS OF DOMESTIC WORKERS AND DECENT WORK
CHALLENGES IN CHINA 4 (“Along with training and certification systems, the Chinese
government also urges the industry to make distinctions between different service types, publish
industry standards, and check workers certificates when recruiting new employees. In 2003,
Shenzhen published the first industry service standards for domestic workers, including a
classification of different skill levels and the requirements for attaining each classification.
Salaries can be increased commiserate with experience”).
356. See generally, supra Section II.B(
) (discussing employer privacy & labor
357. Legislative Precariousness of Domestic Labor, supra note 4, at 157.
358. Tackling Child Labour in Domestic Work, supra note 110, at 78.
359. Other ILO Conventions list healthcare as a right for migrant workers. See e.g. Int’l
Labour Org. Convention 97, art. 5.
360. Social Protection for Domestic Workers, supra note 156, at 10.
361. Id. at 20.
treatment, as employers prefer to treat them at home to avoid medical
Refusing to grant social security and health benefits to domestic
workers may serve to keep financial costs low for employers, but has
severe long term costs for workers. The ILO has sought to address lack
of social security in certain industries by recommending basic income
security for children, a nationally-defined minimum wage, and access
to nutrition, education, and care.364 Where possible, domestic workers
should have equal protections to other workers including coverage by
social security, pensions and maternity benefits.365 Comparing
domestic work to a business, an academic noted that “if cost does not
fall on the employer, it rests with the worker. It is hard to see why
domestic workers should be subjected to health hazards as part of their
Extending social security benefits to children may be a challenge
where children workers are considered casual workers or part-time
ones.367 However, the narrative should be framed in a way that
employers can see the benefits of such a program. For example, if a
DW falls ill, under a social security scheme her healthcare costs would
be more affordable for the employer. This requires educating both DWs
and their employers as to the benefits of these schemes. Argentina has
a model of employer contributions that is split into three segments:
workers over sixteen and under eighteen, those eighteen and over, and
retired workers.368 The employers of domestic workers between the
ages of sixteen and eighteen are required to pay into the health
insurance scheme, but not the pension scheme, limiting their costs.369
Uruguay’s National Health Insurance System is designed to formalize
young adult workers.370 The system requires higher contributions for
363. Ending Child Labour, supra note 12, at 29. See also Swept Under the Rug, supra note
117, at 42.
364. THE STRATEGY OF THE INTERNATIONAL LABOUR ORGANIZATION, SOCIAL
SECURITY FOR ALL: BUILDING SOCIAL PROTECTION FLOORS AND COMPREHENSIVE SOCIAL
SECURITY SYSTEM 53 (2012).
365. C189, supra note 23, art. 14.
366. Fredman, supra note 95, at 419.
367. See generally Social Protection for Domestic Workers, supra note 154, at 21-22
(discussing social security exclusions).
368. Id. at 29-30.
370. Id. at 30.
domestic workers with a spouse or children, allowing costs to remain
low for young single workers.371
This is a challenge, however, where DWs are contract workers
and do not work in a single household. In South Africa, DWs may claim
unemployment benefits for a fixed period on dismissal if they
contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Fund, though many
employers have failed to register their DWs.372 Brazil’s innovative
solution provides financial incentives to employers who register their
DWs with National Social Security Institute.373 Brazil’s scheme allows
social security payments made on behalf of a DW to be deducted from
the employer’s income tax liability.374 Because many governments
already have social security schemes for other industries, extending
such schemes to domestic workers is a reasonable and natural
progression. Allowing employers to register young workers in
progressive, and cheaper schemes would encourage compliance.
Right to Remuneration
Domestic workers have the right to a minimum wage. Low pay or
no pay is common, particularly among the youngest domestic
workers.375 Given the difficulty of researching domestic work, many
studies on child labor are unable to consider it.376 Some domestic
workers, particularly low-skilled children, are remunerated in-kind
with accommodation, food or education costs.377 Some employers also
are reported to implement a non-transparent system of salary
deductions for healthcare needs, or broken or lost household items.378
Without a contract, the terms of payment, including when and how
workers will be paid, can be unclear.
In Hounga v. Allen, a U.K. Court of Appeals (later overturned)
determined that Ms. Hounga, who was physically abused and
dismissed by her employer at age fourteen, was not entitled to salary in
arrears, because at the relevant time she did not have the right to work
in the United Kingdom.379 The employment tribunal had earlier found
that she “knew the difference between right and wrong.”380 This,
despite that Ms. Hounga was brought to the United Kingdom at the age
of fourteen by her employer who falsified her documents under the
pretenses of securing her education, and was never paid her the
promised wages.381 The case was more troubling as Ms. Hounga had
low cognitive functioning and emotional difficulties.382 Though Ms.
Hounga had made misrepresentations on immigration documents, The
Supreme Court overturned the lower court, finding that Ms. Hounga
was a trafficking victim and thus was able to pursue her claims against
the employer who trafficked her into the country.383
South Africa could inform a workable solution. National law
requires a maximum of forty-five hours per week, fifteen over time,
and daily maximum of nine hours per day, governed by a contract.384
Weekly rest must be thirty-six consecutive hours, and they receive
twenty-one consecutive days paid annual leave per year, and unpaid
maternity leave.385 In addition, South Africa, among other countries,
has prescribed a payment rate for on-call working hours.386 The
government provides a fill-in contract that includes daily working
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hours with rest time.387 Because the South African Department of
Labour lacks the capacity to conduct thorough labor inspections, it
conducts ‘blitzes’ in the domestic work industry.388 Inspectors identify
households with domestic workers through registers at the
Unemployment Insurance Fund, and through door-to-door checks.389
Studies conducted in the country have noted that the introduction of a
minimum wage has increased domestic worker’s wages, though
noncompliance still exists.390
Though there are examples of multinational corporations settling
cases against them for abuses of child labor, there appears to be little
case law involving back pay of child domestic labor. This is certainly
not because child labor is not abused, but rather due to the practical
hurdles child workers face in accessing justice. This is a serious area
where advocacy can be enhanced. To not pay a salary to a worker is to
possibly render them in a position of forced labor. Where remuneration
is in-kind, it should be explicitly included in a contract. UNICEF was
successful in uncovering child domestic workers through a household
survey, which indicated that some less-wealthy households did not
report the presence of a CDW.391 Thus, advocacy for a basic wage can
be targeted at employers, who may not understand that their situation
amounts to an employment relationship, or who may have little
incentive to report the employment relationship to authorities.
5. Trade Union Rights & Right to Freedom of Association
Child workers in any field lack the organizational capacity to
bargain collectively with employers, who have much greater
bargaining power.392 Though there is often an age limit for union
participation, there have been calls by domestic workers unions to
allow for the participation of child domestic workers.393 Latin America
has a strong movement for allowing children domestic workers to
387. LAB. DEP’T OF S. AFR., supra note 207, at 13-14.
388. DEBBIE BUDLENDERT, THE INTRODUCTION OF A MINIMUM WAGE FOR DOMESTIC
WORKERS IN SOUTH AFRICA 20 (2016).
389. Id. at 20.
390. Id. at 21.
391. Households hosting CDWs in arrangements disguised as fostering are better off than
households of children in other forms work, but are much less wealthy than reported employer
households. Lyon & C. Valdivia, UNICEF, supra note 376, at 13.
392. See supra Part IV.A.3.
393. ILO-IPEC INTERREGIONAL WORKSHOP, supra note 57, at 75.
organize themselves.394 Ideally, governments would allow domestic
workers to form their own unions, as opposed to permitting
membership in generalized unions.
As noted by the ILO, “[i]t is a growing feature of trade union
activities that they focus on a wider range of socio-economic issues that
concern their members and their families, including child labour.”395
This is partly because of globalization, but also because of changing
work environments and the roles and objectives of trade unions.
Incorporating the goals of CDWs into wider union strategy, and using
union resources to empower CDWs to represent themselves can
strengthen the connection between child labor and domestic work. This
approach could also increase cooperation and coordination between the
two groups and their advocates.
Here, recruitment agencies also play an important role, as they are
often the first point of contact for a domestic worker seeking
employment. Formal agents can be required to distribute union
information to workers before they take up employment. For workers
to have time to engage in union activities, employers must be made
aware of mandatory rest time, and a mechanism for sanctioning those
not in compliance must exist. This must be more effective and simple
than access to a labor tribunal – for example a complaint hotline in
Non-discrimination: Right to Gender & Racial Equality
Changing societal expectations and perceptions of women, the
poor, and minority communities is crucial to expanding and protecting
the inherent dignity of DWs. Without access to affordable childcare
options, greater involvement of men, and/or secure and flexible work,
women will continue to depend on domestic workers for childcare.396
That 67.1 percent of the 17.2 million children in paid or unpaid
domestic work are female frames this squarely as a gender issue. 397
394. Id. at 59. See also Tackling Child Labour, supra note 110, at 70 (Manthoc in Peru
and The Bhirma Sanga Association and SUMAPI in the Philippines have successfully developed
organizations for working children).
395. ILO-IPEC INTERREGIONAL WORKSHOP, supra note 57, at 43.
396. See Fredman, supra note 95.
397. ILO, CHILD DOMESTIC WORK: GLOBAL ESTIMATES 2012, 2 (2013). See also
DemandAT, supra note 5, at 26 (describing demand for domestic work as gendered, racialized
and ethicized); Tackling Child Labour, supra note 107, at 58-9 (“Gender discrimination is a
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Further, social attitudes toward domestic workers from lower
castes or different races can play a role in treatment of domestic
workers from outside a community. An Inter-American Court of
Human Rights report on undocumented migrants stated that exclusion
of undocumented migrants from labor rights breached international
principles of equality before the law and non-discrimination, both of
which it recognized as jus cogens norms.398 The status of
nondiscrimination as a jus cogens norm highlights the importance of
working against stereotypes that contribute to discrimination and can
lead to abuse against migrant workers. These jus cogens labor norms
of equality and non-discrimination are applicable to vulnerable DWs
including migrants and children.399
Domestic workers are prone to gender-based violence, including
sexual assault and harassment, and multiple layers of discrimination in
the labor market including exclusion from social protections such as
reproductive healthcare.400 A study of child domestic work in
Bangladesh found that for age groups twelve to eighteen, female
domestic workers suffered ‘bad behavior’ at the hands of employers at
a higher rate than males.401 A solution to the ‘feminization of poverty’
is the economic empowerment of women. Because poverty is a
commonality among domestic workers, DWs are likely to be struggling
financially and more likely to send their own children into the labor
force as DWs.402 However, only by influencing social change and
attitudes toward women and minorities can advocates limit
discrimination in the domestic work industry. Reframing the struggle
for better rights protection under gender equality and equal protection
could draw more attention to the abuses in the domestic work industry.
major cause of child domestic labour” and “a significant number of child domestic workers come
from tribal and ethnic minorities or the lower castes or classes.”).
398. Juridical Condition and Rights of the Undocumented Migrants, Advisory Opinion
OC-18/03, Inter-Am. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) No. 18 (Sept. 17, 2003).
399. Mantouvalou, supra note 4, at 155.
400. For more on gender-based violence, see supra Part II.V. See also U.N. Human Rights
Committee’s General Comments, 37th Sess., supra note 175, at 79 (interpreting the right to
health as including reproductive freedom).
401. Hidden Slavery, supra note 43, at 57.
402. See MARKIE, supra note 213; Tackling Child Labour, supra note 110, at 28, 53
(“Poverty is the main reason why children work.”).
Access to equal justice under the law is necessary for DWs to
assert their labor, contractual, treaty and international rights.403
However, in some systems, migrant workers are explicitly excluded
from accessing public or legal aid available to locals.404 In some cases,
migrants are categorized and some denied access to rights that other
migrant workers have.405 More commonly, structural hurdles create de
facto inequality.406 Challenges in accessing justice for both migrants
and children may include language skills, inability to pay fees or living
expenses while pursuing a case, and lack of understanding of the legal
Where migrant workers are living in a foreign country under a
sponsorship system, they may resist bringing legal complaints due to
realistic fears of retaliation, deportation, or an employer withholding
their permission for a worker to leave the country.408 This risk is
heightened when a workers’ travel documents are confiscated.409
Though children who migrate internally for work do not always
fear the same types of abuses due to language or their immigration
status, they face similar, if not greater, structural difficulties accessing
justice. CDW consulting groups have specifically requested greater
assistance in times of crisis, including seeking redress from abusive or
exploitative working conditions.410 Migrants and children should have
both de jure and de facto equal access to the justice system, and fees
403. ILO, Migration for Employment Convention (Revised), 1949 (No. 97), art. 6(
(Jan. 22, 1952); PAOLETTI ET AL., supra note 20, at 24 (discussing access to justice).
404. For example, in the United States, some documented migrant workers under
particular visa schemes are excluded from accessing legal aid. Laura K. Abel & Risa E.
Kaufman, Preserving Aliens’ and Migrant Workers’ Access to Civil Legal Services:
Constitutional and Policy Considerations, 5 U. PA. J. CONST. L. 491 (2003).
405. Promoting Fair Migration, supra note 67, at 154.
406. For example, in Hong Kong, a ‘two-week rule’ requires domestic workers to leave
the territory within two weeks after being terminated, which creates a temporal barrier to rights
assertion. New Condition of Stay (NCS) (1987) (H.K).
407. See Promoting Fair Migration, supra note 67.
408. See The Kafala, supra note 65, at 36; Ricard-Guay, supra note 5, at 11 (noting that
“tied-visa system reinforced vulnerability to abuses”).
409. See Delphi Indicators, supra note 212 (confiscation of documents is a medium
indicator of forced labour).
410. Voices of Child Domestic Workers, supra note 27, at 4.
should not be so high as to discourage complaints.411 Where
appropriate, DWs should also have access to conciliation or mediation.
It is unreasonable to expect migrant workers to enforce their rights by
using the court system without providing them with specific
assistance.412 Governments can improve access by providing translated
or simplified court documents, in-court translators, and public aid for
civil suits. Pro-active governments could provide rights training as part
of a qualification for undertaking domestic work. Such training need
not be equivalent for children and adults, but could take very basic
forms for child workers, and enhanced work training could be made
available for adult workers or those seeking to work abroad.
Rights not Applicable
While the overlap between child and adult DWs within a
rightsbased framework is overwhelming, there are a few areas in which the
groups are distinct. These include the right to abode, the right to
residence in case of loss of employment, and maternity rights. Though
minors may qualify for a temporary residency visa where they have
been trafficked across international borders, it is unlikely that such
protections would be extended to migrant workers who are willingly,
and temporarily, taking up work in another country. In some countries,
fear of migrant workers permanently settling in their host country has
been used as a justification for denial of rights.413 Similarly, because of
complex implications for immigration policy, it is unlikely that States
would be eager to grant migrant workers rights to temporary or
permanent residence for the purposes of finding a new employer.
There will certainly be instances of women under the age of
eighteen becoming pregnant while undertaking domestic work.
However, stereotypes of and attitudes toward women who become
pregnant at a young age will likely make advocating for maternity
rights for children a controversial advocacy point. Maternity rights are
thus best advocated for in conjunction with improved social protection
for adult DWs.
Using a Rights-Based Advocacy Framework
Though social attitudes toward domestic workers and the
abundance of easily exploitable workers are difficult to change in
practice, policy-makers do have the ability to limit the exploitation of
domestic workers by improving industry oversight.414 While activities
occurring within the home were once outside the sphere of regulation,
states are increasingly willing to oversee them, for example, in the case
of domestic violence. Despite the complexities of oversight,
governments are recognizing that they have affirmative legal
obligations to protect workers within their territory, even where those
obligations regulate and criminalize private conduct.415
Advocates for domestic workers need to solidify the ties between
better work standards for DWs and the eradication of the worst forms
of child labor. Focusing on the human rights overlap between child
labor and domestic work can help to achieve three broad goals:
ratifying C189, holding states to account for failures under C182 and
the UNCRC to protect rights that they have agreed to abide by, and
developing domestic legislation to protect the rights of domestic
First, advocates across the domestic work industry must work
together to continue to push for ratification of C189. As opposed to the
concrete requirements in R201, C189 uses aspirational language, which
means that states have few reporting obligations or binding targets.
C189 is thus left to be interpreted in light of the local context.416
Drawing upon the human rights overlap between domestic work and
the worst forms of child labor can aid in this push by allowing states to
address the most pressing needs first. Origin countries of MDWs that
are already signatories to C189 can encourage destination countries
414. The unregulated nature of the domestic labor industry is one of three factors creating
exploitative conditions pinpointed by studies on domestic worker and sex work industries, both
of which are rife with instances of human trafficking. The other two are abundant supply of
exploitable labor and the malleability of social norms between the employers and employees.
Anderson & O’Connell-Davidson, supra note 311, at 5.
415. See Legislative Precariousness of Domestic Labor, supra note 4, at 158. An
additional example of this is the increasing recognition that domestic violence falls within the
purview of the criminal law.
416. Sharon L. Fawcett, Child Labor in Domestic Work, STOP CHILD LABOR (Sep. 10,
2013), http://stopchildlabor.org/?p=3643 [https://perma.cc/UQ8L-WYMW].
with whom they have a labor exchange relationship to ratify. The
emotive appeal of ending child labor in domestic work and the desire
for strong labor exchange relationships can help in this regard.
Second, states are obligated to meet certain basic standards under
the UNCRC and C182. Advocates can utilize the binding frameworks
provided for in these agreements to attack lackluster regulation of the
domestic work industry. As the European Court of Human Rights
found in Siliadin and N.C., States have an affirmative duty to
criminalize exploitative labor in their territories.417 Domestic worker
unions and civil society groups can strengthen submissions to the ILO
under C182’s biennial reporting requirement where they can link a
country’s failure to protect domestic workers with child labor abuses.
Finally, this approach can inform a basis for encouraging
legislation at a domestic level, even in countries that have not ratified
C189. This can be accomplished through advocacy, lobbying, media
campaigns and public shaming of countries with poor records of
protecting children from the worst forms of domestic work. When
legislators understand the inherent link between abusive child labor and
domestic work, they may be more open to passing protective legislation
covering the domestic work industry. In addition to encouraging
legislation, advocacy groups could ask for non-binding measures, such
as a Code of Conduct for government agencies and employers to utilize
in hiring and employing domestic workers, to be distributed to
community centers in urban communities where DWs may work. Such
a document could draw on the principles of C182 and C189 without
becoming binding law, paving the way for more binding instruments in
Despite growing awareness of the necessity to regulate the
industry, DWs remain legislatively and socially vulnerable. This Note
has strengthened the connection between abusive child labor practices
and domestic work using a human rights-based framework. Part II
defined domestic work within its historical context as informal,
feminine care work. Part III discussed the international conventions
and laws most relevant to DWs, including children involved in
domestic work. Part IV highlighted why the industry remains
challenging to regulate and thus why domestic workers remain socially
and legislatively vulnerable. Part V discussed the factors shared by
child and adult DWs that increase a worker’s risk of labor exploitation.
Part VI elaborated on the human rights applicable to all domestic
workers, and advocated a rights-based framework for regulating the
domestic work industry. This Part argued that rights-based advocacy is
an appropriate method to strengthen legislative protection for domestic
Within a rights-based framework, it is clear that states continue to
fall severely short in their duty to protect the human rights of domestic
workers. Because the domestic work industry contains some of the
most abusive child labor practices, states must regulate it to comply
with their international legal obligations. Pulling women and their
children out of poverty provides a compelling economic reason to do
so. Further, and more simply, states must adopt a more compassionate
approach to labor policies for domestic workers. It is my hope that by
doing this, states can better recognize the important contributions that
domestic workers make to our communities and economies, and
respect that contribution in both rhetoric and action.
1. Forced Labor & Freedom from Economic Exploitation......................................................1382
2. Right to Occupational Health...........................1386
3. Right to Social Security ...................................1388
4. Right to Remuneration.....................................1390
5. Trade Union Rights & Right to Freedom of Association.......................................................1392
6. Non-discrimination: Right to Gender & Racial Equality ............................................................1393
7. Right to Equal Treatment under the Law and Equality with Locals in Legal Proceedings ......1395 B. Rights not Applicable.............................................1396 C. Using a Rights-Based Advocacy Framework ........1397 VII. CONCLUSION ............................................................1398
2. See generally Daniel S. Nagin, Deterrence in the Twenty-First Century, in CRIME AND JUSTICE IN AMERICA: 1975-2025 42 (Michael Tonry ed ., 2013 ).
3. See infra Section II .A.
4. Peggie R. Smith , Work Like Any Other, Work Like No Other: Establishing Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 15 EMP . RTS. & EMP. POL'Y J . 159 , 161 ( 2011 ) ; see also Virginia Mantouvalou, Human Rights for Precarious Workers: The Legislative Precariousness of
14. Ending Child Labour, supra note 12 , at 14-24; see also C182, supra note 12.
15. Depending on the jurisdiction and relevant statute, trafficking can involve transport across international borders, or can involve solely domestic activity. For example, in the United States, the definition of trafficking incorporates fraud and coercion, but not necessarily transport, as a means through which trafficking can be achieved . 22 U.S. § 7102 ( 9 ) ( 2014 ) ; HAVIZ & PAARLBERG, supra note 5 , at 19-21; Hélène Harroff-Tavel & Alix Nasri, ILO, Tricked and Trapped: Human Trafficking in the Middle East ( 2013 ) 41 - 43 .
16. See infra Section VI.A.
17. Agustinus Beo Da Costa , Without Contracts, Domestic Workers' Rights Unprotected, ILO , ( Aug . 28, 2015 ), http://www.ilo.org/jakarta/info/public/fs/WCMS_464070/lang-- en/index.htm [https://perma.cc/C82D-PX2A] ; see also ILO, Resolution Concerning Decent Work and the Informal Economy , 90th Session of the General Conference ¶¶ 28 - 30 ( 2002 ) [hereinafter Resolution Concerning Decent Work] .
18. Advocates have routinely requested these mechanisms to help prevent abusive employment practices . See Child Labour and Domestic Work , INT'L LABOUR ORG ., http://www.ilo.org/ipec/areas/Childdomesticlabour/lang-- en/index.htm (last visited May 14 , 2018 ) [https://perma.cc/Y5T4-JFA4].
19. G.A. Res. 217 A(III), Universal Declaration of Human Rights, art. 1 (Dec . 10, 1948 ); Jean-Michel Servais , Universal Labor Standards and National Cultures , 26 COMP. LAB. L. & POL'Y J . 35 , 36 ( 2004 ) (describing ILO activities as a “universal mandate”).
20. This can be even more complicated considering that in many countries, particularly in rural areas, identity and birth date documents are not provided at birth . SARAH PAOLETTI ET AL., MIGRANT WORKERS ' ACCESS TO JUSTICE AT HOME: NEPAL 44 ( 2014 ) Even where documents are available, they may be forged . Harroff-Tavel & Nasri, supra note 15 , at 61.
21. Resolution Concerning Decent Work, supra note 17, ¶ 3 .
22. Origins and History, INT'L LABOUR ORG ., http://www.ilo.org/global/about-theilo/history/lang-en/index. htm (last visited March 17 , 2018 ).
23. ILO, Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 ( C189 ), 15A /2, PR No . 15A , (June 16, 2011 ) [hereinafter C189].
24. Manuela Tomei , Decent Work for Domestic Workers: Reflections on Recent Approaches to Tackle Informality, 23 CAN . J. WOMEN & L., 185 , 207 ( 2011 ).
25. C189, supra note 23, art. ( 1)(a)-(b).
26. For more on sibling care, see REKHA MEHRA ET AL., CHILD CARE OPTIONS FOR WORKING MOTHERS IN DEVELOPING COUNTRIES (n .d.), 41 - 42 ( noting that women often left children in the care of other daughters).
27. “However, across countries and regions, the tasks undertaken by child domestic workers tend to be divided according to traditional gender roles. This means that girls are usually required to do 'indoor' tasks such as cooking, cleaning and washing, as well as taking on the 'caring' roles, such as looking after young children and the elderly .” Jonathan Blagbrough, AntiSlavery Int'l, They Respect Their Animals More: Voices of Child Domestic Workers 17 ( ( 2007 ).
49. Ending Child Labour, supra note 12 , at 2 (“For the majority, a common cross-cutting factor influencing their engagement in child domestic work - for both girls and boys - is the extent of the social exclusion and relative poverty of their families and communities .”); see also Domestic Workers Across the World, supra note 6 , at 29 ( “In general, local domestic workers are younger, come from poorer areas .”); id. at 21 (“ Domestic workers generally migrate within the region, generally from poorer to more prosperous countries .”).
50. Smith , supra note 4 , at 165 (“ Likewise when women enter receiving countries to work as domestics, they are commonly relegated to an unequal position in society based on their gender, race, and class identity .”).
51. Albin & Mantouvalou, supra note 6, at 138.
52. ILC , Report IV (1), supra note 30, ¶ 25 .
53. For example, the US Department of Labor was created in 1913 as a response to poor conditions in factories. A women's bureau within the Department was created in 1920, indicating that the original conception of labor did not necessarily include women's work . Public Law No. 259 of June 5 , 1920 , https://www.dol.gov/wb/info_about_wb/interwb.htm [https://perma.cc/8V97- PEW5 ].
54. See supra note 28 and accompanying text .
55. See infra Part V.B.5. on 'emotional, physical and sexual abuse .'
56. Virginia et al., supra note 4 , at 15. For more on violence against domestic workers in Brazil, see Creuza Oliveira, A Domestic Worker in Brazil, Real Life Stories , UN, http://www.un.org/en/letsfightracism/oliveira.shtml [https://perma.cc/8BZL-BBC9] ; (last visited May 14, 2018 ). See also Virginia Mantouvalou, What Is to Be Done for Migrant Domestic Workers?, in LABOUR MIGRATION IN HARD TIMES: REFORMING LABOUR MARKET REGULATION? 141 (Bernard Ryan ed ., 2013 ) (noting that abuse is distressingly common among migrant workers).
57. ILO-IPEC INTERREGIONAL WORKSHOP ON CHILD DOMESTIC LABOUR AND TRADE UNIONS: REPORT 38 (Feb . 2006 ) [hereinafter ILO- IPEC INTERREGIONAL WORKSHOP].
58. Ending Child Labour, supra note 12 , at 9.
59. See supra note 35 and accompanying text. 60. For more on statutory exclusions see supra note 7 and accompanying text .
60. For more on statutory exclusions see supra note 7 and accompanying text .
61. See HAVIZ & PAARLBERG, supra note 5, at 6, 30 (noting that 78% of interviewees reported that their employers threatened them with deportation if they complained about work conditions, but that law HB493/SB178 in Maryland expanded the definition of extortion to include employers who threaten to report a worker's immigration status); see also infra note 65 on the Kafala system .
62. See generally Human Rights Watch, Hidden Away: Abuses against Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK 38-48 (Mar . 30, 2014 ) (“The fear of deportation is a strong deterrent for them to report abuse by their employer . ”) . For a discussion of non-authorized migration see THE RIGHT TO WORK: LEGAL AND PHILOSOPHICAL PERSPECTIVES 51 (Virginia Mantouvalou ed ., 2015 ) [hereinafter THE RIGHT TO WORK] .
63. The Gulf Cooperation Council (“GCC”) consists of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (“UAE"). Charter of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (with Rules of Procedures of the Supreme Council, of the Ministerial Council and of the Commission for Settlement of Disputes) , Bahr.- Kuwait-Oman-Qatar-Saudi Arabia-U.A.E., May 25 , 1981 , 1288 U.N.T.S. 151 .
64. Also spelled Kefala or niẓām al-kafāla.
69. C189, supra note 23, preamble.
70. Smith , supra note 4 , at 163.
71. Domestic Workers Across the World, supra note 6 , at 24.
72. See Frank Langfitt, Servants: Diplomat Held Us as Suburban 'Slaves' NPR, Mar. 1, 2007; see also Jo Becker, Strip Search Uproar: What about the Nanny , CNN, Dec. 19 , 2013 . See also Steve George, Bangladeshi Diplomat in US Accused of Forcing Servant to Work Without Pay , CNN , June 4, 2017 .
73. See , e.g., Meredith McBride , Hong Kong: Abused Maid Erwiana Says Employer Should Get Life in Prison, ASIAN CORRESPONDENT , Feb . 11 , 2015 .
74. Leila Kawar , Making the Machine Work: Technocratic Engineering of Rights for Domestic Workers at the International Labour Organization, 21 IND. J. GLOBAL LEGAL STUD . 483 , 495 ( 2014 ).
75. ILC , Report IV (1), supra note 30, ¶ 5 .
76. Kawar , supra note 74, at 495.
77. ILO, Agenda of the International Labour Conference: Proposals for the Agenda of the 99th Session (2010) of the Conference , ¶ 54 , GB. 300 /2/2 (Nov. 2007 ).
78. Id . ¶ 63 .
79. C189, supra note 23, preamble.
80. Little information is available about exactly who makes up these employer groups . See Kawar, supra note 74 , at 496.
81. Id .
82. Boris , supra note 7, at 97-98.
83. Kawar , supra note 74, at 497.
84. ILO , Implementation of International Labour Standards for Domestic Workers, Aug, 2017 , 1 [hereinafter Implementation of International Labour Standards] ; see also Decent Work for Domestic Workers , http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/--ed_protect/--protrav/-- travail/documents/genericdocument/wcms_313678. pdf (listing the countries that have taken action on C189 as of 2013); ILO, Labour Inspection and Other Compliance Mechanisms in the Domestic Work Sector Introductory Guide ( 2016 ) at 19 (noting that 70 states have taken steps to improve protections for domestic workers, thanks to a campaign by the International Trade Union Confederation to push for countries to ratify C189) [hereinafter Labour Inspection and Other Compliance Mechanisms]. For more on the ITUC's 12 by 12 Campaign, see Ending Child Labour , supra note 12 , at 54.
85. See Implementation of International Labour Standards, supra note 84 , at 1.
86. See Ratifications of C189 - Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) , ILO, http://www.ilo.org/dyn/normlex/en/f?p=NORMLEXPUB: 11300 :0::NO: :P11300_INSTRUME NT_ID:2551460 (last visited Apr . 12 , 2018 ) (noting that the following countries have ratified C189: Argentina, Belgium , Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Finland, Germany, Guinea, Guyana, Ireland, Italy, Jamaica, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Portugal, South Africa, Switzerland, and Uruguay) [https://perma.cc/4FDN-GSNF].
87. Decent Work for Domestic Workers: Achievements since the adoption of C189 2 (June 14, 2016 ). It is difficult to hypothesize as to the low, or slow, rate of C189 ratification as little literature exists on the topic. It is possible that some countries lack unions or mass movements to encourage ratification. One possibility is that ILO ratification tends to be lower in Africa and parts of Asia, where greater portions of the economy are informal . Evance Kalula , Juliana Masabo & Marius Oliver, Informality, Employment and Social Protection: Some Critical Perspectives for/from Developing Countries , July 2012 .
88. Including countries with large numbers of migrant domestic workers, such as the UAE with over 750,000 migrant domestic workers and Kuwait with 620,000 . See Migrant Rights Statistics - Domestic Workers in the Gulf, Migrant Rights Org. ( 2018 ), https://www.migrantrights.org/statistic/domesticworkers/ [https://perma.cc/E2MK-RCUA].
89. The Countries using the Kafala system of migration are the UAE , Oman, Bahrain, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan , Iraq and Lebanon. See Migrant Forum Asia, supra note 66.
90. See generally C189, supra note 23.
91. See Labour Inspection and Other Compliance Mechanisms, supra note, at 40 .
92. Tomei , supra note 24, at 186-87.
93. See generally INT'L LABOUR ORG - MEASURING DECENT WORK , http://www.ilo.org/ integration/themes/mdw/lang-en/index. htm (last visited Mar . 20 , 2018 ).
94. C189, supra note 23, art. 23 VII ( “Each Member shall take measures to ensure that domestic workers are informed of their terms and conditions of employment in an appropriate, verifiable and easily understandable manner and preferably, where possible, through written contracts in accordance with national laws, regulations or collective agreements .”).
95. Sandra Fredman , Home from Home: Migrant Domestic Workers and the International Labour Organization Convention on Domestic Workers, in MIGRANTS AT WORK: IMMIGRATION AND VULNERABILITY IN LABOUR LAW 408 (Cathryn Costello & Mark Freedland eds., 2014 ) (“the Convention might facilitate some movement of workers from informal and uncertain work arrangements to a more formal situation. However, as is well known, employers are adept at producing documents which disguise relationships to avoid regulation”).
96. For example, ILO Recommendation 204 on the Transition from the Informal to the Informal Economy in Section 4(c) includes “paid domestic workers employed by households . ” ILO , Recommendation 204 - Recommendation Concerning the Transition from the Informal to the Formal Economy §4(c ), June 12 , 2015 .
97. Mantouvalou , supra note 4, at 145 ( noting that the definition “within an employment relationship” excludes those employed on a casual basis).
98. Glossary of Statistical Terms, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ( 2018 ), https://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=778 [https://perma.cc/3K28- 9ZEU].
99. Maggie Black , Child Domestic Workers: a handbook on good practice in programme interventions , Anti-Slavery International, 59 ( 2005 ). Anti-Slavery International points out that distinctions must be drawn between 'fostering' children and 'adopting' them, the latter of which would require equal treatment with the household's other children. The lack of a legal distinction could amount to a family member being treated as labor, without payment .
100. See C189 , supra note 23, art. 3 ( 3 ).
101. Mantouvalou , supra note 4, at 145.
102. See C189 , supra note 23, art 9.
103. See C189 , supra note 23.
104. See Elizabeth Frantz, Breaking the Isolation: Access to Information and Media Among Migrant Domestic Workers in Jordan and Lebanon 4 , Open Society Foundations , (Feb. 23 , 2014 ) (“Recruitment agencies and employers routinely confiscate the passports of migrants”); see also Peggy W .Y. Lee & Carole J. Petersen , Forced Labour and Debt Bondage in Hong Kong: A Study of Indonesian and Filipina Migrant Domestic Workers , at 15 , 27 (“ Agencies routinely charge six months wages, arranging with the employer to divert to them the helper's wages . . . When an employment agent or employer confiscates the passport of a MDW, it gains an element of control and ownership that can turn an abusive employment situation into a form of slavery .”).
105. See C189 , supra note 23, art. 15 ( 1 )(c).
106. See C189 , art. 15 ( requiring only that governments oversee agencies by providing complaint mechanisms, criminalize abuse of domestic workers by agencies, and ensure that agency fees are not directly deducted from a DW's remuneration) .
295. See Ayaz Akbar Yousufzai, Judge Probed Over Alleged Torture of 10-year-old Maid, GEO . TV (Dec. 13 , 2016 ), https://www.geo.tv/latest/125508- Local- courts -judge-probed-forviolence-on-10-year-old-domestic-worker [https://perma .cc/5VDA-J9EM] ; see also Diana Alghoul, Hundreds of 'Tortured' Bangladeshi Women Flee Saudi Arabia, THE NEW ARAB (May 2, 2017 ), https://www.alaraby.co.uk/english/society/2017/5/2/Hundreds-of -tortured-Banglad eshi-women-flee- Saudi-Arabia .
296. Gamlin et al., supra note 274 , at 213. See also Hidden Slavery, supra note 43 , at 59 ( noting that female child domestic workers in Bangladesh suffered a much higher rate of inappropriate touching (19.6%) than male children (3 .3%)).
297. Gamlin et al., supra note 274 , at 218.
298. Blagbrough , supra note 241, at 186.
299. Id . at 219 (noting, however, that this wasn't universally true - Peruvian, Philippine and Tanzanian child domestic workers showed high levels of psychosocial satisfaction).
300. See D'Souza , supra note 29, at 24; see also Decent Work for Domestic Workers at ¶ 231 (noting that temporary accommodation and a support network are crucial to help domestic workers escape abuse).
301. D'Souza , supra note 29, at 25 ( noting that “Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest that most incidents of verbal and physical abuse are not treated as violence which necessitates action, but only as an occupational hazard”).
302. See Voices of Child Domestic Workers, supra note 27 , at 19 ( CDWs stated that the most difficult part of their burden is discrimination and isolation); see also Tomei, supra note 24, at 186 (arguing that classifying domestic work as 'women's work' devalues the work); Anderson & Wisniewski Otero , Coming Clean, supra note 11 , at 46 ( migrant domestic workers are undervalued and receive less than half of Hong Kong's minimum wage ).
303. Zigor Aldama , Hong Kong's Domestic Workers 'Treated Worse Than the Dogs' , DW.COM (Sept. 3 , 2015 ), http://www.dw.com/en/hong-kongs -domestic-workers-treated-worsethan-the- dogs/ a-18302005 [https://perma.cc/N48Q-WL3S].
304. See Voices of Child Domestic Workers, supra note 27.
305. For an analysis of the U.K's failure to recognize, investigate, and prosecute a form of child labor, see generally Case of C.N ., supra note 273.
306. Smith , supra note 4 , at 171.
307. See supra Part III.B.
308. Id . 309 . C182, supra note 114, preamble.
309. C182, supra note 114, preamble.
310. IDWF, Eight Good Practices, supra 236 , at 56 (“[E] mployers believed that providing CDWs with food, clothing and shelter was a social service .”).
311. DemandAT, supra note 5, at 25. See also Bridget Anderson & Julie O'ConnellDavidson , Int'l Org. for Migration [IOM], Is Trafficking in Human Beings Demand Driven?: A Multi-Country Pilot Study, 5 ( 2003 ).
318. Siliadin v. France, Case 73316 /01 .
319. Id . at ¶ 123. (providing that a mandatory 'live-in' requirement is common among many countries which host MDWs) .
320. Id . at ¶¶ 10 - 14 .
321. Id . at ¶ 11.
322. See id. at ¶¶ 11 - 15 .
323. Now included in the European Human Rights Charter .
324. Siliadin , supra note 318, at ¶¶ 84 - 89 (“ It necessarily follows from this provision that States have positive obligations to adopt criminal law provisions which penalize the practices referred to in Article 4 and to apply them in practice .”).
325. Id . at ¶ 126.
326. Europe has a Human Rights Convention and Court. Similar bodies include the InterAmerican Commission on Human Rights and its associated court, and the African People's Court of Human and Peoples' Rights. Neither Asia nor the Middle East has a similar regional human rights body or court .
333. Id . at ¶ 493.
334. Labour Dep't of S. Africa, What you Should Know , supra note 207.
335. SNAP is a program funded by the US Department of Labor beginning in 2009 .
336. ILO, Malawi: From Child Labour to Decent Work (June 12 , 2013 ), http://www.ilo.org/global/about-the-ilo/multimedia/video/institutional-videos/WCMS_ 215821/lang-en/index. htm (last visited Mar . 21 , 2018 ).
337. Id .
338. Id .
339. C189, supra note 23, art. 4, at 7.
346. For more on risk factors see See Labour Inspection and Other Compliance Mechanisms, supra note 84 , at 10; see also Ending Child Labour, supra note 12 , at 33-34.
347. Id . at 34.
348. Maria Gallotti & Jesse Mertens, Promoting integration for migrant domestic workers in Europe: a synthesis of Belgium , France, Italy and Spain, (International Migration Papers no. 118) ( 2013 ).
349. ILO, Survey report: Child domestic workers in Ho Chi Minh City 13 ( 2006 ).
350. Id . at 49.
351. Ending Child Labour, supra note 12 , at 34.
352. Id . at 3.
353. Id .
354. IDWF, Eight Good Practices, supra note 236 , at 60.
371. Id .
372. See generally Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act, No. 4 of 2002 (S.Afr .) (discussing details of South Africa's insurance fund legislation). For a mention of South Africa's Unemployment Insurance Fund and its extension to domestic workers , see Domestic Workers Across the World, supra note 6 , at 88; see also Social Protection for Domestic Workers , supra note 154 , at 16.
373. Fredman , supra note 95, at 408.
374. Id .
375. Voices of Child Domestic Workers, supra note 27 , at 16. See also Pyae Thet Phy, Domestic Migrant Workers in Thailand, Malaysia 'Underpaid,' MYANMAR TIMES, Sep . 29 , 2017 , https://www.mmtimes.com/news/domestic-migrant -workers-thailand-malaysia-underpai d .html [https://perma.cc/7NH3- PNK4 ].
376. See e.g., IPEC-ILO, CHILD LABOUR, CAUSE AND EFFECT OF THE PERPETUATION OF POVERTY 11 (Dec . 2007 ) (domestic work was not considered); see also Scott Lyon & Cristina Valdivia, Towards the Effective Measurement of Child Domestic Workers: Building Estimates Using Standard Household Survey Instruments (Understanding Children's Work (UCW) Programme , Working Paper Sept. 2010 ) (suggesting household surveys as a way to overcome the information gap ).
377. ILC , Report IV (1), supra note 30 , at ¶ 23.
378. Id . at ¶ 24. See also As If I Am Not Human, HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH (July 14, 2018 ), https://www.hrw.org/report/2008/07/14/if-i -am-not-human (“[S]ome employers make arbitrary and illegal deductions from salaries as a disciplinary tool, to pay for a worker's medical expenses, or to recoup recruitment fees .”) [https://perma.cc/S6SL-3AQF].
379. Hounga v. Allen  UKSC 47 (Eng .).
380. Id . at ¶ 11.
381. Id . at ¶ 2 , 9 .
382. Id . at ¶ 8.
383. Id . at ¶ 54.
384. Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 Sectorial Determination 7 : Domestic Worker Section , S. Afr ., 446 GOV'T GAZETTE , No. 23732 , § 10 (a)- (b) , 16 ( 1 )(b), Aug. 15 , 2002 (covering hours of work and rest periods).
385. Id . at 17 ( 1)(b ).
386. ILO, Working Hours in Domestic Work 2 ( 2010 ).
411. ILO, Migrant Workers (Supplementary Provisions) Convention , 1975 (No. 143) , art. 9 ( 2 ) (Dec. 9, 1978 ); ILO, Migration for Employment Convention (Revised ), 1949 (No. 97) , art. 6 ( 1 )(d) ( Jan . 22, 1952 ).
412. Labour Inspection and Other Compliance Mechanisms in the Domestic Work Sector Introductory Guide , at 17 ( 2016 ).
413. Will Labor Reforms in the UAE Improve Life For Migrant Domestic Workers? , WORLD POL. REV., Apr . 26 , 2017 .