THANK YOU TO EVERYONE WHO ATTENDED THIS DEBATE ON
Thursday 20th November 2014 at the House of Lords
Chair: Diana Holland, Assistant General Secretary, Unite
Speakers: Baroness Caroline Cox, Kate Roberts (Kalayaan), Marissa Begonia (Justice 4 Domestic Workers), Fiona Mactaggart MP, Virginia Mantouvalou (UCL), Parosha Chandran (1 Pump Court)
The resounding message from this debate was clear: the Modern Day Slavery Bill in its current draft, is NOT enough to tackle the trafficking and abuse suffered by thousands of female Domestic Migrant Workers (MDWs) across the UK. By failing to address the Tied-Visa system which legally ties a migrant worker to their employer (no matter how abusive) and the precarious state which the current 6-month visa allowance places MDWs, the Modern Slavery Bill is wilfully neglecting the enslavement of the most vulnerable women existent in the UK employment sector.
BACKGROUND & REASON FOR DEBATE
Saturday 18th October 2014 marked the fourth consecutive Anti-Slavery Day for the United Kingdom since the passing of the Anti-Slavery Day Act in 2010.
Yet whilst the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed in 1807 and slavery is prohibited internationally by Article 4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, there are still an estimated 27 million people across the world in slavery today, forced to work for little or no pay.
Domestic Workers in EVERY COUNTRY across the world constitute a large part of that enslaved workforce. Usually female; classed as ‘low-skilled’; often trafficked or tricked into enslavement with promises of safety, regular payment and a secure job, and far too often ignorant of their basic human rights, Migrant Domestic Workers (MDWs) in particular, remain the most vulnerable, the most abused, and the most silenced workforce in the UK today.
This is why Making Herstory partnered with Justice 4 Domestic Workers, Kalayaan, Unite: the Union and Anti-Slavery.org to host a debate in the House of Lords on the currently drafted Modern Slavery Bill’s failure to directly address the plight of MDW communities in the UK.