There are at least 53 million domestic workers worldwide, according to the International Labour Organization’s 2010 policy brief. It is a vast increase in number of domestic workers since the mid-1990s. Domestic work has been crucial for greater participation of women in the labour market despite the informal employment and vulnerable working conditions. Yet, domestic workers often lack the social recognition and many of the legal protections available to other workers. Domestic workers comprise a significant part of the global workforce and an estimated 41% of the 53 million domestic workers are based in the Asia Pacific region with Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China having the highest number of domestic workers.
A recently launched study “License to Exploit” by the Alliance of Progressive Labour (APL) provides extensive report on the recruitment practices and challenges faced by Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong. The method of research project undertakes a descriptive and qualitative research using the participatory action research (PAR) approach. The research has highlighted that despite the “no placement fee” policy of the Philippine Government (http://www.poea.gov.ph/hsw/hsw.html), migrant domestic workers are still paying huge amounts to recruiters.
According to the writer of “License to Exploit,” Mr. Rex Varona, East and South East Asia Policy Advisor of MFA, to effectively provide better government services and protection to migrant workers, the government must eliminate exploitative recruiters and recruitment agencies and unjust work contracts and further work on the implementation of policies that will protect the rights and welfare of migrant workers and their families.