We advocate with and for children in domestic work in order that they can influence national and global initiatives. Through our partners we run consultations with child domestic workers to gain their views and facilitate participatory activities so that children themselves can advocate for their rights. We co-ordinate discussions with NGOs and funders to highlight the situation of children in domestic work and to influence policy and practice.
This event was organised to bring together NGOs and funding agencies who have expressed an interest in the issue of child domestic workers to explore the barriers in identifying child domestic workers and the approaches that have worked in accessing this difficult-to-reach group of children.
Child domestic workers were commonly identified as vulnerable children, as out-of-school children, as children on the move, as girls, as workers or slaves. Participants recognised that children in domestic work are ‘… a group that is relevant to all but missed by many.’ It was found that for many organisations the issue of child domestic work is hidden within a broader approach such as child protection. These programmes are often supporting child domestic workers but they are not ‘targeting’ this particular group. Although accessing this ‘hidden’ population is, perhaps, the biggest challenge for those working on the ground, the round table participants concluded by sharing examples of how NGOs have successfully accessed child domestic workers. For the full report from the round table click here.
ILO Domestic Workers Convention
Children Unite co-ordinated a project that worked in partnership with eight organisations world-wide to lobby for the rights of child domestic workers during negotiations for a new convention proposed by the International Labour Organisation. In this two year project we facilitated consultations with 250 children and submitted their recommendations to the ILO on how the new Domestic Workers Convention (No.189) can help protect child domestic workers from exploitation. We enabled and co-ordinated the participation of ten child domestic workers in the ILO’s negotiating process for the new convention in Geneva, building their confidence and their skills in leadership and lobbying. In addition, we helped children to develop a 10 minute advocacy film on the issue of child domestic labour that was premiered at the ILO negotiations for the convention at the UN Palais des Nations, Geneva.
Watch the two minute version of the advocacy film (left) and read the recommendations from children to the ILO (below)
Child domestic workers from six countries submitted the following recommendations to the ILO:
1. No-one should be a domestic worker below the national legal minimum working age. Young domestic workers above this age (usually 14 or 15 years) can work, but their employment should be subject to special protection.
2. Written employment agreements are the best way of ending exploitation and getting young domestic workers back into education.
3. Young domestic workers need urgent protection from physical, sexual and emotional abuse. Local leaders and law enforcers should look out for and assist young domestic workers in abusive situations.
4. Often isolated, young domestic workers should be locally registered and given opportunities to organise.