Millions of domestic workers remain excluded from protection: ILO

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Domestic workers

At least 52 million people around the world – mainly women -are employed as domestic workers, according to the first research of its kind conducted by the International Labour Organization.

Research shows that domestic workers account for 7.5 per cent of women's wage employment worldwide and a far greater share in some regions, particularly Asia and the Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean.

The ILO report says that between the mid-1990s and 2010, there was an increase of more than 19 million domestic workers worldwide.

But it notes that despite the size of the sector, many domestic workers experience poor working conditions and insufficient legal protection.

Martin Oelz is the ILO's Legal Specialist on Working Conditions.

” We had to do two things: first, come up with a solid estimate on the number of domestic workers and the global number that we have estimated is 52.6 million domestic workers globally with Latin America and the Caribbean and Asia being the regions employing most domestic workers followed by Africa and Europe and the Arab region. The second thing that we had to do is to analyse the legal protection in the countries and then we correlated this to aspects together and this leads us to very important conclusions on the numbers of domestic workers in the world and the extent of legal protection that they enjoy.”

The figure of 52 million domestic workers excludes child domestic workers below the age of 15. Their number was estimated by the ILO at 7.4 million in 2008.

Donn Bobb, United Nations.

Duration: 1’43″

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