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Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development issues its report “Domestic Servants.. Continuous Suffering”

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Press Release

On Monday, (27/5/2024), the Egyptian Coalition for Human Rights and Development issues its report “Domestic Servants.. Continuous Suffering”, which addresses the phenomenon of domestic servants through several axes, including: Definition of Human Trafficking, Forms of Human Trafficking, Reasons for the prevalence of the phenomenon of women’s work in domestic service, Violations against domestic servants, International and Egyptian efforts to eliminate Human Trafficking, and Recommendations that can reduce abuses against domestic servants.

The report points out that one of the most crucial reasons that lead to the predominance of women in the field of domestic work is the lack of interest in women’s education, which increases their job opportunities that depend on their physical efforts in exchange for pay like domestic work. On the other hand, men have multiple chances to complete their education that qualify them to join various job opportunities. Moreover, the increase in unemployment and the lack of job opportunities, which have become a phenomenon all societies suffer from currently, as well as decreasing wages are reasons for women, even educated women, to enter the field of domestic work under many common names such as nanny or babysitter.

In addition, the report demonstrates that domestic workers have many problems with their employers, the most important of which seems to be the lack of a minimum level of treatment that respects the most basic level of human rights, as well as there are no minimum limits for either working hours or wages, which vary considerably from case to case. Furthermore, the report points out that many cases mention models and forms of deprivation, whether in food, clothing, sleep, freedom of entry and exit, or visiting family. The abuse takes many forms, including what is psychological, and some of which is physical, sometimes up in seriousness to the need of those who fall on this abuse to the need for rehabilitation, or psychological and organic treatment

The report also indicates the violations to which domestic workers are subjected are as follows:

  • Violation of the maid’s right to believe
  • Violation of the maid’s right to communicate with her relatives
  • Lack of proper consent to the domestic service contract
  • Violation of the maid’s right to fair pay
  • Non-observance of the maid’s right to organize working hours
  • Depriving the maid of enjoying the right to privacy

Despite the increasing demand for the employment of domestic workers, this group is still deprived of a set of basic rights, including labor rights, which resulted in the call for the enactment of special legislation that sponsors the protection of the rights of domestic workers as long as the labor law and its provisions do not apply to them. For different types of material and moral violations, poverty and poor economic and social conditions are the main reasons behind women’s involvement in domestic service, the exclusion of domestic workers from the labor law, and the lack of a social and health umbrella and legal protection for them.

Finally, the report recommends:

  • Addressing legislative deficiencies, and accommodating this group either in the general labor law or in a private law that takes into account the specificity of their situation.
  • Stipulating in the law the mechanisms of protection and social insurance, which include life insurance, health insurance, accident insurance, pensions, and unemployment insurance system.
  • Including in the provisions of the law what regulates wages, working hours, and vacations in a manner that allows obtaining these rights within a framework of flexibility that takes into account the interests of all parties, and the nature of the task that the worker is assigned to perform.
  • Developing a contract form to be concluded between the worker or his representative and the employer, and to be documented until he has an official capacity.
  • Establishing mechanisms for protection in case of exposure to risks represented in shelters equipped with qualified personnel to provide this type of care, hotlines to meet urgent needs, or to provide appropriate advice and guidance.
  • Educating domestic workers about their rights and duties, and urging them to demand the existence of an organization that defends their rights, which is represented in a union for them, insurance, and pension systems.
  • Raising community awareness, managing informed discussions that address domestic labor issues, whether through the media or civil society institutions, and declaring all aspects of this topic. Civil society can play the largest role in such mechanisms protecting this worker category. So, they are responsible for hotlines, shelters, and receiving complaints, and may be the most suitable authorities to train and develop the skills of domestic workers in various fields of work.
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