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I Video di Slaves no More: testimonianze, eventi, la storia dell'Associazione


Dichiarazione di Miss Urmila Bhoola sulle cause e conseguenze delle forme contemporanee di schiavitù
17 settembre 2018

Dichiarazione di Miss Urmila Bhoola, relatrice speciale sulle forme contemporanee di schiavitù, sulle sue cause e conseguenze alla 39a sessione del Consiglio dei diritti umani:

Statement by Ms. Urmila Bhoola, Special Rapporteur on conteporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences at the 39th session of the Human Rights Council

10 September 2018

Mr President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is an honour for me to address the Human Rights Council as the second Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences.

As the Global Slavery Index 2018 evidences, slavery continues to be a reality for millions of men, women and children all over the world. Yet, forced labour, servitude, bonded labour, sexual slavery, servile forms of marriage and traditional slavery are often invisible and therefore, the scale of contemporary forms of slavery is commonly underestimated.
This also applies to domestic servitude which is commonly hidden to the outside world, as it happens behind closed doors. My report focusing on the impact of slavery and servitude on marginalized migrant women workers in the global domestic economy aims at giving visibility to an often neglected subject and in this way, to echo the voices of the voiceless. In my report, I conclude that policies are needed that tackle discrimination while also helping to balance the legitimate concerns of both employers and workers in order to effectively prevent human rights violations including servitude in the domestic sector.

A sustainable domestic work economy should ensure access to justice, effective enforcement and remedies in the case of exploitation and abuse, while also addressing issues of prejudice against migrants through advocacy. I encourage all States to implement my recommendations formulated in the report which aim at giving practical guidance to States on how to effectively prevent and address domestic servitude of women migrants.

Mr President,

Regarding country visits, I welcome the invitation extended by the Government of Italy to undertake an official visit which will take place from 3 to 12 October 2018. The Government of Togo has equally accepted an official visit which has been scheduled for December this year.

I wish to also take this opportunity to thank the Government of Paraguay for their collaboration before and during the visit which took place in July 2017. I will present the country visit report at the end of this statement.

Mr. President and distinguished delegates

I will now turn to my thematic study on the impact of slavery and servitude on marginalized migrant women workers in the global domestic economy.

Care and domestic work are necessary for the wellbeing of households and yet, mainly performed by women, our global society disregards the value of this work, resulting in women being exploited in servitude and subjected to other slavery like conditions. The human rights violations of domestic workers, particularly of migrant workers in domestic servitude, remains largely invisible, as it is confined to the private sphere. The increase in global migration for domestic work is directly related to increasing globalization, macroeconomic policies which reinforce inequality and poverty, climate change and demographic changes. Yet this is a critical area for policy changes because the manner in which care and domestic work are carried out is crucial to the future of decent work.

Not all migrant domestic workers face working and living conditions which amount to servitude. Owing to the informality of domestic work, there is insufficient data on migrant women in domestic servitude. However, domestic workers face some of the poorest working conditions across the care economy and are particularly vulnerable to exploitation. Their working conditions are the result of a set of labour market, migration and care policies, or the lack thereof. Households may find it tempting to resort to the cheapest and easiest solutions for care on the market, which are commonly domestic workers.

Frequently driven by poverty, domestic workers, including migrants, often find themselves forced to accept working and living conditions that violate their fundamental human rights. On that basis, many migrant domestic workers are exposed to multiple types of abuse, such as physical and social isolation; restriction of movement; psychological, physical and sexual violence; intimidation and threats; retention of identity documents by the employer; withholding of wages; abusive working and living conditions and excessive overtime. If one or more of these situations applies, the ILO considers it to constitute forced labour. If those indicators of forced labour are combined with a lack of choice and strong control over their personal freedom, which many employers exercise, domestic workers may find themselves trapped in servitude, or even slavery. Domestic workers who live in the homes of their employers are especially vulnerable in this regard.