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Domestic Work SPR14

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Julie Jenkins

on 21 March 2014

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Transcript of Domestic Work SPR14

Domestic Workers: Workers, not Slaves
"Slave focus enables a denial of the materialist context, the structural forms of power that often allow for the possibility of abuse in the first place" (Anderson 2004).
What factors lead to the possibility of abuse?

--Racism/nationalism/ ethnic stereotypes
--hiring a particular nationality
--set in hierarchy of preferences
--rhetoric of poverty and 'help'
"Manufacturing difference between female employer and female worker"
--that justifies poor wages, working conditions, and other abuses
--sexuality & gender
--How are these configured in the Hong Kong & Thailand context?
idea of inferiority or poverty underpins
--maternalism-- female employer caring for the worker as she would for a child or a pet
--paternalism or patronizing behavior
--rhetoric of 'helping'
Hong Kong-- out of 100 workers, 86% had passports held, 86% didn't receive legal minimum wage
--"part of the family"-- conceals power relationship
--wages could be lower
--erratically paid
--potential for longer hours
Domestic Workers 'maintain status' for employer
--class status
--ideals of clean home
--enable employers to engage in activities outside house
--ideals of 'clean' femininity over 'dirty' household labor
ILO Convention 189: Convention on Domestic Workers
-effective Sept 1013
-protection against abuses
-rest hours
-minimum wage
-ability to choose where they live
-plethora of experiences
-not a homogenous group
"Slavery applied to situation to highlight power exercised over the domestic worker, lack of control that she may have, and her vulnerability to physical, psychological, and sexual violence"
ASI argues:
--vulnerable to forced labor
--trafficking & bonded labor
--not 'owned' but unable to refuse work
--subject to employers choices
UK sample of 195 workers
--84% report psychological abuse
--34%, physical abuse
--10%, sexual abuse
--54%, locked in
--55%, did have own bed
--38%, didn't have regualr food
--Immigration Status
--undocumented workers
--migrating with employer
--"report & deport"
--visas tied to employers
"Unhappily we have a problem of racism in France. We have a lot of people who don't want to have a black person in their house. Neither Arab people..it was because when you give your children to be bred by somebody else you want people to be...I mean...quite the same..the civilization...I'm not going say that's good, but that's it...You know, the black people are used to being under the sun, and the people in France think they are very lazy, they are not going very quick, and, you know, another breed. But they are very good with children, very maternal. They are paid less than people who are cleaning, because they are not asking so much because of the color of their skin, they think they are very lucky to have a job"
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