Domestic workers

FCCT to exhibit Steve McCurry photos of abused domestic workers

An exhibition of photos of abused domestic workers by American photographer Steve McCurry will open at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) on 21 November 2014.

Press release | Bangkok, Thailand | 20 November 2014

Anis, from Indonesia, abused in Hong Kong, China
© ILO/S. McCurry
BANGKOK (ILO News) - The exhibition, “No One Should Work This Way: Preventing the abuse of domestic workers,” showcases portraits of domestic workers who have been physically and mentally abused by their employers. This will be the first public exhibition of the pictures.

The portraits displayed at the FCCT are the product of an 18-month collaboration between Mr McCurry and Karen Emmons, a Bangkok-based journalist, to raise awareness of the abuses that domestic workers endure behind closed doors and encourage governments and societies to act to protect them by treating them as workers. Working pro bono, the two interviewed and photographed domestic workers in Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, Nepal and the Philippines. They found physical and mental abuse, child labour, forced labour, trafficking, rape, starvation, unpaid wages, restrictions on movement and communication.

Steve McCurry is most famous for taking the picture of a young refugee known as the “Afghan Girl”, which appeared on the cover of National Geographic magazine. He has won the National Press Photographers Award four times, the Olivier Rebbot Award twice, the Robert Capa Gold Medal, and the Magazine Photographer of the Year. In 2014 he received the Centenary Medal for Lifetime Achievement. His work has been featured in numerous magazines and books, many focusing on South-East Asia and India.

Karen Emmons is an American journalist who has lived and worked in Asia for the past 25 years, after working as a staff reporter with LIFE magazine in New York City. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Far Eastern Economic Review, Time, People, Reader’s Digest, The South China Morning Post, International Herald Tribune and London Sunday Times.

The project was funded by the International Labour Organization’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. The ILO estimates there are more than 52 million domestic workers in the world, 250,000 of them in Thailand. In most countries, domestic workers are not even covered by basic workers' rights legislation and protection systems. In 2011 a new ILO Convention specifically covering the rights of domestic workers came into force. So far, it has only been ratified by 16 countries, and just one (the Philippines) in the Asia–Pacific region.

The exhibition will open at 7 p.m. Friday 21 November 2014 at the FCCT and run until mid-December. The FCCT is open 10 a.m. – 11 p.m. Monday–Friday, except public holidays. Admission is free.