REVALUING WOMEN'S WORK: Ending the Exploitation and Abuse of Domestic Workers
Thursday March 11, 2010 UN Church Center, New York, NY
This UN Commission on the Status of Women parallel event was hosted by the American Civil Liberties Union and cosponsored by Domestic Workers United (DWU), Andolan: Organizing South Asian Workers, the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), DAMAYAN Migrant Workers Association, the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF), and Brown Girls Productions.
For decades, nannies, caregivers, and housekeepers have been excluded from most U.S. labor protections a legacy of slavery, Jim Crow, and the undervaluation of womens work. The lack of regula¬tion combined with the isolated nature of domestic work makes these women particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses, breeding the global phenomenon of human trafficking.
As the UN Commission on the Status of Women undertook its 15-year review of the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, this panel called attention to the failure of the U.S. and other governments to live up to their obligations under interna¬tional human rights law to protect this critical workforce.
The event began with a screening of Behind Closed Doors, a short documentary film about the exploitation and labor trafficking of South Asian women as domestic workers in the United States. The film was followed by a panel discussion with domestic workers and advo¬cates engaged in local, national, and international movements to pro¬tect the human rights of domestic workers and re-value their labor: