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Information guides for migrant domestic workers (MDWs)

  • Responsible Organisations: International Labour Organization (ILO) (International Organisation); UN WOMEN (International Organisation); International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) (Trade Union); Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) (International Organisation); International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) (Trade Union); National Steering Committee on Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon
  • ILO Regions: Africa; Americas; Arab States; Europe and Central Asia
  • Country(ies): Argentina; Italy; Lebanon; Lesotho; Paraguay; Poland; South Africa; Spain; Ukraine; Zimbabwe
  • Thematic areas: Protection; Social integration and inclusion
  • MLFLM: 8.; 9.(a),(b),(c); 11.; 14.
  • Sectors: Domestic work


Clear and accessible information can be an important means of preventing abusive relationships between migrant domestic workers and their employers. Information guides - of which three examples are provided below - can serve to clarify the rights and responsibilities of each party under national and international legislation.

1. Information guide for Paraguayan domestic workers in Argentina- It is estimated that there are currently around 100,000 Paraguayan domestic workers in Argentina. The 'Pasaporte informativo sobre derechos laborales e información para las trabajadoras de casa particular migrantes' was developed as part of the ILO's EU-funded Global Action Programme on Migrant Domestic Workers and their Families (GAP-MDW) at the request of workers' organisations in Mercosur. The guide provides general information on Argentina; pre-departure advice; and information on migration legislation as well as domestic workers' labour rights in Argentina. The booklet also provides a list of contacts, including consulates and civil society organisations. The Pasaporte Informativo was produced in collaboration with UN WOMEN, the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF), the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). A similar booklet has been created for the Ukraine-Poland migration corridor and GAP-MDW is currently preparing an analogous tool for domestic workers arriving in South Africa from Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

2. Information guide for MDWs in Lebanon- Through the EU-funded 'Action programme for protecting the rights of women migrant domestic workers' (PROWD), the International Labour Organization has engaged in a participatory policy dialogue with the Lebanese authorities and civil society to ensure terms and conditions of decent work for women migrant domestic workers. An information guide for MDWs was published in 2012 as a joint effort of the members of the National Steering Committee on Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon, which was established in April 2007 under the auspices of the Ministry of Labour. The guide covers issues related to entry, arrival and exit; MDWs' rights and responsibilities; dispute settlement; Lebanese culture; and provides advice on remittance transfers. The project distributed 60,000 copies of the guide in cooperation with eight NGOs, in addition to trade unions and private institutions (in particular fund transfer agencies). The booklet is also available in audio format, and a web portal has been developed to allow easy access to information, also pre-departure:

3. 'Know your rights!' booklets for migrant domestic workers in Italy and Spain- As part of the ILO project on 'Promoting Integration for Migrant Domestic Workers in Europe', funded by the European Fund For The Integration Of Third Country Nationals, information guides were developed in English, Italian and Spanish for migrant domestic workers in Italy and Spain. The booklets, which are structured in a question-and-answer format, provide information on the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189) and domestic workers' labour rights. They also provide a list of local trade union and NGO contacts. The guides have been distributed to workers by trade unions and domestic workers' organisations.


last updated on 04.08.2015^ top