Asia Pacific

Regional Coordinator: 
Ip Pui Yu (Fish)


IDWF affiliates in Asia Pacific:



Bangladesh National Domestic Women Workers Union (NDWWU)
Cambodia Cambodia Domestic Workers Network
Hong Kong Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Unions (FADWU)
India National Domestic Workers Movement (Sr. Jeanne Devos ICM)
India National Domestic Workers Trade Unions Federation (NDWTUF)
India Self Employed Women’s Association (SEWA) (Nalini Nayak)
Indonesia Tunas Mulia Domestic Workers Union
Nepal Home Workers Trade Union of Nepal
South Korea Korea Household Managers Coop
Sri Lanka Domestic Workers Union
Thailand Network of Domestic Workers in Thailand


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Bangladeshi Workers Organize to Protect Their Most Valuable Export: Themselves

29 September, 2014 | Tiffany Williams | Foreign Policy In Focus

In Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries on the planet, more than 157 million people live on about 57,000 square miles of land. That’s a population greater than Russia’s living in a country smaller than the state of Illinois. We heard over and over again that Bangladesh’s prime economic resource is its abundance of people—and indeed, alongside agriculture and garment manufacturing, “labor exporting” is a pillar of the economy. In 2013, more than $13 billion was sent home from Bangladeshi migrants working overseas.

The national government officials we met with seemed at once detached from the suffering of migrant workers yet proud of the quality of their “exports.” On the local level, where officials and NGOs seem to work collaboratively to educate Bangladeshis about safe migration, we saw a more complicated picture. Labor migration is a rare viable option to support a family in a poor country like Bangladesh, but these small local partnerships are not reaching enough of the population. Because of these gaps, potential migrants might still take risks in desperation, like working with dalals (middlemen) who cheat them with few consequences.

Kuwaiti families bring in 30,000 domestic workers annually

30 August, 2014 | Zawya | Zawya

While expressing his complete approval of establishing a special authority to bring domestic labor from abroad in order to eliminate the shortcomings of the current demography and limit crimes, MP Kamel Al-Awadhi stressed that both the PM and the interior minister had seconded his proposal to establish a special company answerable to the Interior Ministry to be responsible for bringing domestic labor to the country so that it can protect both workers and sponsors.

Vietnam study: economic value of domestic work for families and society

28 August, 2014 | Quỳnh Chi & Oxfam in Vietnam |

The Research Center for Gender, Family and Environment for Development (GFCD)  conducted a survey with 500 domestic workers in 5 districts in Vietnam. It finds out domestic workers contribute big economic value for families and society. The GFCD calls for recognition of domestic workers for decent work and occupational training for them.

Domestic Workers in India air their woes

27 August, 2014 | FPJ Bureau | Free Press Journal

At a two-hour-long convention, they demand their rights of decent wages and education of their children

The All India Domestic Workers Union formed in 2012 held the Domestic Workers Convention 2014 where they made several demands from their employers and the Maharashtra government. The convention was held at the Mumbai Regional Congress Committee (MRCC) compound near Press Club at CST on Tuesday afternoon.

The ongoing plight of Lebanon's domestic workers

21 August, 2014 | Joseph A. Kechichian Senior Writer | Gulf News

Beirut Much like data for its native population, Lebanon underestimates both the numbers of Palestinian and Syrian refugees and, in the most ironic of all cases, it also purposefully undercounts domestic laborers. The presence of approximately 750,000 expatriate laborers has created a Pandora’s box for the Lebanese as most domestic workers struggle with work permit issues and, when those were secured, with violence.

Overwhelmed, the labor and interior ministries barely cope with legal pressures, now significantly burdened with the regulation of nearly 2 million Syrian refugees that, for the most part, suffocate the bureaucracy.

Malaysia keen to take domestic workers from Nepal

21 August, 2014 | The Malaysian Insider | The Malaysian Insider

Malaysia has expressed its interest to take domestic workers from Nepal, already a second largest source country for migrant workers in Malaysia.

Malaysian Human Resource Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot (pic) brought up this idea during a meeting and talks with Nepali Minister of State for Labour and Employment Tek Bahadur Gurung in Kathmandu, Nepal, today, Nepali officials said.

However, no agreement was reached on the issue.

Philippines: The forgotten cost of domestic work

19 August, 2014 | Anna Cummins and Mark Tjhung | Time Out Hong Kong

They care for our families and maintain our homes. Our city relies on them. But for many domestic helpers, leaving behind their own country comes with a huge trade-off.

A Judicial Blow to Lebanon’s Sponsorship System: Employer Must Return Domestic Worker’s Passport

14 August, 2014 | Sarah Wansa | The Legal Agenda

The ruling discussed in this commentary concerns the case of a female migrant domestic worker whose passport was withheld. The violation addressed in the lawsuit is, of course, no unique occurrence, but rather a very widespread one in Lebanon. This is a country where slavery has taken the form of a sponsorship system in which the “sponsor” is the “master”. Behavior such as that of employers withholding workers’ identification documents, or confining them to their homes, has thus become socially “acceptable” among broad segments of its population.

Domestic workers in Pakistan are still struggling hard to get their basic rights to work and live

10 August, 2014 | Aoun Sahi | The News On Sunday

In August 2010, Tehmina, a twelve-year-old girl from Multan district who worked as a domestic help in a house situated in a posh neighourhood in Islamabad, was pushed off a balcony by her employer for demanding salary. She suffered spinal-cord injuries and was paralysed. Though her poor father managed to get a case registered against her employers with the help of civil society and media, he reached an out-of-court settlement with Tehmina’s employers after two months.

Tehmina was not the first or last case in which domestic workers have either been tortured or killed by employers. In 2013, then Chief Justice Supreme Court of Pakistan ordered the provinces to take necessary measures against slavery-like child domestic work, but the provinces failed to act. From January 2013 to first week of August 2014, 32 cases of torture on domestic workers were reported, including 14 deaths.

“Majority of the cases are reported from Punjab and around 90 per cent victims are girls. This is the only occupation in which deaths, murders and torture on children is reported. But conviction rate in such cases is zero per cent,” says Abdullah Khoso. “In Pakistan, issues of domestic workers are raised only when some worker is killed.”

Hong Kong's Hidden Shame: Why is foreign domestic worker abuse so rampant?

5 August, 2014 | Katrina Kaufman | Coconuts Media Limited

Early this year, dramatic images surfaced of a gaunt young woman covered in deep bruises and lacerations, her feet swollen and black from infection. While she resembled the torture victim of a war-torn country, in fact, this brutal abuse was the result of being a foreign maid in Hong Kong.

Like many of Hong Kong's estimated 323,400 foreign domestic helpers, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, had essentially been treated like a slave. Months of alleged torture from her employer – including daily beatings (often on the head with a mop handle), boiling water burns, 21-hour work days, sleeping on the floor and being locked up – took their toll on the 23-year-old Indonesian maid. When she could no longer even work, her employer abandoned her at the airport, barely able to walk or see, with a ticket home and only $9. Yet, what was perhaps most unsettling about Erwiana's story is that this crime against humanity took place in Asia's world city – and was by no means an isolated incident.
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