This was a series of photography and digital media workshops, which gave female domestic migrant workers the skills to document their own experiences as a domestic worker in the UK.
There are two general objectives that will be developed in this project:
- A Self-Empowerment process to provide you with the opportunity to represent yourself and your experiences as a female domestic migrant worker who has experienced abuse – finding a platform/voice to make their personal stories heard.
- A Self-Advocacy tool to raise awareness on the issue of the abusive conditions of employment faced by domestic migrant workers in the UK and internationally and with the aim of informing policy that allows this abuse (please see ‘Context’ section)
Of the roughly 15,000 migrant domestic workers entering the UK each year on special labor visas, an untold number are subjected to brutal, restrictive work regimens and frequently experience abuse, exploitation, discrimination, racism and social exclusion. The isolated, dependent and unregulated nature of working in private household, combined with gender-based and racial discrimination means that domestic workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitative practices.
In June 2011 the International Labour Organisation passed ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers. In the same month the British Government refused to sign the Convention and instead reintroduced a system of slavery for migrant domestic workers in the UK. This is truly shameful as one of the reasons given for not signing was that UK had the best protections already in place for migrant domestic workers.
this situation has been worsened by changes in the legislation that protects Migrant Workers Rights which the UK government brought effect on 6th April 2012.
Kanlungan’s key response against the effect of these rules, was to directly support them and help them set – up self help groups where they can discuss their problems and build capacity to solve their problems. Through these self-help groups, migrant domestic workers who are settled and were empowered are able to share their experiences with women who are now in difficulties so that they could build more capacity. Kanlungan’s main work with migrant domestic workers has been empowering them through projects that they can utilize to make a change. Through these projects, migrant Filipino domestic workers will become active in local community actions, take leadership roles, and manage a campaign that will aim to change a policy which will protect them. Kanlungan has a track record of implementing this project that resulted to settlement of migrant workers including domestic workers, care workers and others. Kanlungan would like to draw from the past experiences so that this empowerment will be sustained and Filipino domestic workers will be able to address their issues, ensure that they gain confidence, and assert their rights in their workplaces, campaign collectively against violence and abuse of employment and human rights.