eu_logoMIGS was a participating partner to the project: Combating Trafficking in Women for Labor Exploitation in Domestic Work, STOP Traffic for Domestic Work”- STOP Traffic for Domestic Work.  The action was coordinated by EDEX LTD (University of Nicosia), in partnership with Fundació SURT (Spain), Centre for Gender Studies of Department of Social Policy at Panteion University (Greece), Women’s Issues Information Centre (Lithuania) and was funded by Prevention of and Fight against Crime (ISEC) Programme of the European Commission.

Background of the project

Although female migrant domestic workers are visible agents within the destination countries and current economies around Europe, at the same time when it comes to policies and legislation they are invisible. Mediterranean countries like Spain, Greece and Cyprus are destination countries for many female migrant domestic workers while Lithuana is more of a country of origin. It is evident from previous research that many are victims of exploitation. Migrant domestic workers mostly live in the houses of employers and many according to studies by the ILO report physical, psychological, sexual abuse and exploitative work conditions. They are often overworked/ underpaid, have their personal documents confiscated, report restrictions in freedom of movement, and have their pay withheld in order to pay off “debts” related to their recruitment and transportation. Such exploitation is under-reported and authorities don’t necessarily recognize cases of trafficking. However, trafficking in women may occur if the employee has been deceived, or if her dependent status and vulnerability has been abused in order to subject her to exploitation. Further the new directive on THB recognize the gender dimension and it encourages Member States to act towards the less investigated forms of THB such as labour exploitation. The new strategy on THB is a critical tool in assisting the MS implementing the Directive and both documents pay special attention to THB for labour exploitation.

This project addresses the issue of trafficking in women for the purpose of forced labour and labour exploitation with a particular focus on migrant domestic workers.

Aims and objectives

The aim of the project was to gain knowledge, collect data on the national situation of trafficking in women for the purpose of forced labour and labour exploitation in Cyprus, Greece, Lithuania and Spain

Objectives:

Analyse legislation, policies and processes in relation to the recruitment, entry and employment of migrant women in the four countries.

Explore and understand the exploitative work situations under which migrant women live and whether these situations include elements of trafficking

Gain in-depth understanding of the push and pull factors in relation to trafficking in women for the purpose of labor exploitation with particular focus on demand

Raise awareness among relevant stakeholders including front line officers, NGOs and the media on trafficking in women for forced labor and labor exploitation in domestic work

The activities of the project included:

Research study:

Qualitative in depth interviews with:

a.  key stakeholders in order to understand and gain knowledge on the different polices, strategies, legislation in relation to the entrance procedures as well as employment (including contracts of employment) specifically for women domestic workers. Further the research will also examine the mechanisms in place for the identification of victims of trafficking for labour exploitation as well as measures for victims support and protection.

b. Qualitative in depth interviews with migrant women domestic workers. The aim is to explore and understand the exploitative work situations under which migrant women domestic workers live and whether these situations include elements of trafficking as well as to gain in depth understanding of the push and pull factors in relation to trafficking in women for the labour exploitation with particular focus on demand.       

2. One national information workshop in all partner countries: The workshop will be designed based on the research results and it will aim to develop identification procedures for (possible) victims of trafficking for domestic with the front line officers

3. Press conferences in all partner countries

4. Awareness raising leaflets on Trafficking in Women for Domestic Work: Awareness raising leaflets including information in relation to trafficking in women for domestic labour exploitation aiming at prevention of trafficking in women. Find the leaflets here.

5. Final conference: Organization of a final conference in Cyprus with the participation of all partners and key stakeholders from all countries. The aim is to present the research results of the project and to discuss in depth with the participants the problems faced by key stakeholders in practice and draft recommendations. More Information on the conference can be found here.

6. Publication “I Thought I was Applying as a Care Giver”: The University of Nicosia and the Mediterranean Institute of GenderStudies (MIGS) are pleased to make available the book entitled “I Thought I was Applying as a Care Giver”: Trafficking in Women for Labour Exploitation in Domestic Work. The book incorporates the research results conducted by all partner organizations as well as policy recommendation and strategies on national and EU level on combating trafficking in women for labour exploitation in domestic work.

Download the full text version of the Book here.

For more information please contact Josie Christodoulou at josie@medinstgenderstudies.org.