Protecting domestic workers against forced labour

Protecting Domestic Workers Against Forced Labour and Trafficking

Domestic work is common in the Philippines. Domestic workers are employed in private households, often isolated from their own families and networks. They sweep floors, wash dishes and care for children, but are hidden from the public, for the most part unregistered and poorly covered by labour laws and social protection schemes.

The ILO worked with domestic workers in the Philippines through a programme that looked at their legal regulation. The domestic workers project helped the workers to organize. The project contributed to establishing a legal and policy environment to recognize and value domestic work, and carried out advocacy and research to broaden understanding of trafficking and the forced labour of domestic workers. The office also worked with constituents to empower domestic workers to understand their rights and strengthen their voice, and explore how they could help each other to reduce their abuse.

Through discussions on gender equality, the ILO noted that problems had deepened for the most vulnerable, including women in domestic work. Yet while the global economic downturn has contributed to aggravating their vulnerabilities, domestic workers are beginning to realize gains through changes in public attitude. In 2010, member States will begin to work on a legal instrument on domestic work, exploring means to formalize the informal sector as it relates to workers in households.

For further information please contact:

ILO Country Office for the Philippines (CO-Manila)
19th Floor, Yuchengco Tower
RCBC Plaza, 6819 Ayala Avenue
1200 Makati City, Philippines
Tel. +632 580 9900
Fax +632 856 7597