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Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and their Families

Promoting decent work for migrant workers worldwide

When: 1 February 2013 - 31 January 2016
Donor: European Commission
Contact(s): Maria Elena Valenzuela, project coordinator.

Project Background

Domestic work involves migrant labour in many regions and countries across the world, especially women, considering that the work is traditionally a female-dominated occupation and women represent nearly half of the total population of international migrants worldwide. The growing demand of households for domestic services is considered to be one of the main triggers of the feminization of labour migration in past decades. Unfortunately, migrant domestic workers are more exposed than nationals to vulnerabilities and violations of human and labour rights, especially due to disadvantages that stem from their low-status, an absence of protection and assistance mechanisms in both destination and sending countries, their migration status, and the negative implications that are associated with the informality of domestic work.

Project Objectives

The Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and their Families seeks to promote the human and labour rights of migrant domestic workers worldwide by addressing the challenges that make migrant domestic workers particularly vulnerable to the risks of exploitation and abuse. This project will take a multidisciplinary, participatory, and evidence-based approach for the purpose of developing and strengthening national labour laws, migration policies, and recruitment regulations and practices that are oriented towards achieving decent work for migrant domestic workers across global care chains. By concentrating on ten countries through five main migration corridors consisting of Ukraine-Poland, Zimbabwe-South Africa, Indonesia-Malaysia, Nepal-UAE, and Paraguay-Argentina, this project will undertake policy-oriented research and capacity building in a variety of ways at both regional and global levels to achieve the following three specific objectives:
  1. Enhance research and practical knowledge on migration and trafficking issues with regards to domestic work across global care chains.
  2. Strengthen the capacities of policy makers, domestic worker and employer organizations, and practitioners to advocate for migrant domestic workers’ access to decent work and human rights
  3. Pilot-test national capacity building approaches to promote rights-based policies and regulations and empower migrant domestic workers throughout all stages of the migration cycle.


Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)
UN Women
International Domestic Worker Network (IDWN)
International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Confederation of Indonesia Prosperity Trade Union (KSBSI)
European Commission

Target Beneficiaries

Governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations, recruitment agencies, relevant organizations and practitioners, male and female migrant domestic workers and their families worldwide

For further information please contact:

Maria Elena Valenzuela, ILO Project Manager
ILO Headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland; Labour Migration Branch
Tel: +41.22.799.8238

Tags: migrant workers, domestic workers, international migration, migration policy

Regions and countries covered: Global

Unit responsible: Labour Migration

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