Forced labour laws need more than lip service to be effective

29 May, 2014 | Aidan McQuade | The Guardian New

In 1930, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) established a Forced Labour Convention, an attempt to address such practices in what was then still a colonial world. Over the decades the manifestations of forced labour have changed, whereas international law has remains rooted in the past.

Beginning this week, and running until 12 June, the International Labour Conference (ILC) is meeting to try to address the gaps in the convention that have emerged over the past 80 years.

The conference represents an opportunity to advance the eradication of forced labour, updating legislation in the areas of prevention, victim protection and compensation, and including new forms of forced labour such as trafficking.

Singapore: New clubhouse for domestic workers opens near Tanjong Pagar

25 May, 2014 | Melody Zaccheus | The Straits Times

Domestic workers now have a new clubhouse where they can spend their days off from work.

A 2,800 sqf space at 10 Raeburn Park, near the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, features karaoke facilities, a library and a computer lab. It was opened on Sunday afternoon by non-profit organisation, the Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast). Fast said its aim is to provide workers with a space to unwind, mingle and pick up a hobby on their day off. By August, the club will also have remittance, postal and legal counselling services as part of its efforts to be a one-stop centre for maids. Membership fees cost $4 a year.

Dutch Rapporteur urges International Labour Conference to revise Forced Labour Convention


Supplementing the ILO Convention concerning Forced or Compulsory Labour (C029) is an important step towards the eradication of forced labour, says the Dutch National Rapporteur on Trafficking in Human Beings and Sexual Violence against Children. She urges the International Labour Conference to opt for a legally binding protocol. According to the Rapporteur, the proposed set of new rules confirms the link between forced labour and trafficking in human beings. Additionally, revision of the Convention eliminates existing gaps on three important issues: the prevention of forced labour and the protection and compensation of its victims.

Elizabeth Tang: Domestic workers are determined to have strong organizations

22 May, 2014 | RadioLabour | RadioLabour

Elizabeth Tang, IDWF General Secretary talks about the IDWF & domestic workers at the ITUC Congress.  Listen to what she said on a report of RadioLabour, 2014 May 22.

Day Four/Domestic Workers: 2014 ITUC World Congress

22 May, 2014 | Equal Times Newsdesk | Equal Times Newsdesk

On day four of the ITUC World Congress, we speak to Amanda Villatoro of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA) and Stella Marys Zalazar of the "Sindicato de Empleadas de Casas de Familia" (Argentina) about the success of the 12x12 campaign to organise domestic workers.

ILO says forced labour generates annual profits of US$150 billion

20 May, 2014 | ILO News | ILO News

Forced labour in the private economy generates US$150 billion in illegal profits per year, about three times more than previously estimated, according to a new report from the International Labour Organization (ILO).

The ILO report, Profits and Poverty: The Economics of Forced Labour, said two thirds of the estimated total of US$150 billion, or US$99 billion, came from commercial sexual exploitation, while another US$51 billion resulted from forced economic exploitation, including domestic work, agriculture and other economic activities.

“This new report takes our understanding of trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery to a new level,” said ILO Director-General Guy Ryder. “Forced labour is bad for business and development and especially for its victims. Our new report adds new urgency to our efforts to eradicate this fundamentally evil, but hugely profitable practice as soon as possible.”

Marcelina Bautista: Making the invisible visible

17 May, 2014 | UN Women | UN Women

When Marcelina Bautista Bautista left her indigenous Mixtec community in Nochtixtlan, in the Mexican state of Oaxaca, at the age of 14 with only a primary school education and no knowledge of Spanish, she didn’t dream that one day she would end up contributing to the development of an international treaty for domestic workers’ rights. Driven by her experience which she shares with many other women, Marcelina made the invisible visible by revealing the conditions of millions of domestic workers who do not have a contract, fixed working hours, benefits or social security.

On families day, reflect on the lives of domestic workers in Hong Kong

15 May, 2014 | Emily Halsall | SCMP

Around the world, May 15 is celebrated as International Day of Families - an occasion to celebrate the role families play in societies and an opportunity to reflect on the struggles families face in the light of social and economic trends. For the 300,000 migrant workers in Hong Kong who leave their families behind in search of a better future, the sentiments of this day are particularly important.

Myrtle Witbooi: Why the ratification of C189 is so important to domestic workers

15 May, 2014 | ITUCCSI | ITUCCSI

Myrtle Witbooi, IDWF President, talks about why the importance of the ratification of C189 to domestic workers.

Colombia ratifies the Domestic Workers Convention

12 May, 2014 | ILO | ILO

On 9 May 2014, the Government of Colombia deposited with the International Labour Office the instrument of ratification of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189). Colombia is the fourteenth ILO member State and the eight Latin American member State to ratify this instrument that seeks to improve the working and living conditions of tens of millions of domestic workers worldwide.
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