The Home Alone campaign

protesters holding placards with slogans about rights for migrant workers

Migrant domestic workers and Kalayaan at the May Day rally 2007. © Kate Roberts/Kalayaan

Domestic workers speak out

Across the world, domestic workers - both children and adults - try to overcome abuse and exploitation. Those in situations of slavery can rarely escape without help. Around the globe domestic workers have formed organisations to raise awareness about their rights to be free from abuse and exploitation, lobbying governments for legislation and access to justice.

Domestic workers across the world have called for the valuable contribution that domestic workers make to be acknowledged, and for domestic work to be recognised as 'work'.

Join the Home Alone campaign

Anti-Slavery International and domestic worker organisations around the world have been campaigning for the International Labour Organization to adopt a new Convention to provide protection for domestic workers.

The new Convention sets strict rules to prevent abuse and make it clear that domestic workers deserve respect and dignity. It also provides guidance to employers of domestic workers, many of whom are currently operating without regulation. It is hoped that the Convention will significantly contribute to the elimination of the forced labour, trafficking, debt bondage and child slavery to which many domestic workers are subjected.

Campaign victory!

On 16 June 2011 the International Labour Organization (ILO) made a historic step forward in protecting up to 100 million domestic workers worldwide from slavery and exploitation by officially adopting a new landmark Convention on domestic work. Domestic workers everywhere are now celebrating after a long fight to be recognised as proper workers and be treated the same as other employees.

Anti-Slavery International and the International Slavery Museum would like to thank all the Home Alone campaign supporters for calling on governments around the world to support the Convention.

83% of national governments, employers and trade unions voted in favour of improving the rights of child and migrant domestic workers and ending abuse. Countries which ratify the Convention will be under obligation to ensure these rights are upheld.

Shock at UK position

However, despite the international community uniting behind the Convention, there was disappointment that the UK was one of just eight countries which abstained from voting in favour of it. Sudan, Malaysia, El Salvador, Panama, Singapore, the Czech Republic and Thailand also abstained. Swaziland was the only government to vote against the Convention.

New struggle

Anti-Slavery International are starting a new campaign with their allies to urge the UK Government to ratify the Convention, alongside calling for every country around the world to enact it.

You can take action by calling on governments worldwide, including the UK, to support the adoption of a new convention on domestic work.

Further information about the Home Alone campaign is on the Anti-Slavery International website.