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Caritas says domestic staff in Europe should not be 'modern slaves'

Caritas Internationalis has appealed to governments and international communities for the protection of migrants working in homes as maids, caretakers and caregivers. For the most part they are women. Domestic workers are often exploited and rarely have any form of legal protection. The abuse may be difficult to detect, as the workplace is within private homes. Caritas asks that this labou category possess the same legal rights as all other workers.

"In addition to the risk of abuse, domestic workers have no social insurance, are subjected to long working hours, and are underpaid. Many are afraid to complain, as they fear revenge from employers and continue to live as 'modern slaves'," reads a note from Caritas Internationalis.

The International Labour Organization (ILO), the United Nations body responsible for the management of international workers, is studying a document to protect the rights of domestic workers, which will be presented in June. Caritas also calls for special measures for migrant domestic workers so that their work permits or residence are not bound to their employer.

The Organization is studying a mechanism by which housework should be regulated by the creation of employment agencies that act as intermediaries between employers and migrant workers. These agencies should ensure observance of labor standards and the quality of work. Caritas recognizes an increase in demand for domestic workers, although in many countries there are still no legal migration channels, and it calls on governments to create channels that allow for work in the legal form, for those who wish to leave their country origin.

Source: Fides