Protect the rights of housemaids at home and abroad

The global movement of migrant workers from one country to another is steadily increasing due to varying levels of economic development, unemployment rates, and the desire to secure better job opportunities. Within the realm of domestic and international employment, both men and women often find work as housemaids.
Practically, these housemaids continue to face a lack of recognition for their contributions, a lack of mutual respect, the loss of entitlements, and inadequate protection of their rights in all countries. Despite their hard work, housemaids frequently encounter labour and salary exploitation by brokers and homeowners in their daily routines.
According to statistics from the International Labour Organization (ILO), there are approximately 75 million housemaids working in households worldwide, with over 76 per cent of them being female workers and around one-fourth being male. While housemaid positions can vary depending on the nature of the households and the specific tasks involved, such jobs predominantly provide employment opportunities for female workers. Unfortunately, discrimination is prevalent in these types of employment, leading to worsening conditions for housemaids both abroad and within their home countries.
Typically, housemaids are assigned various responsibilities such as house cleaning, cooking, child care, elderly care, and other household chores. However, Myanmar society does not perceive the role of a housemaid as prestigious employment. Some homeowners consider housemaids as their personal slaves or servants, responsible for all household tasks.
As a result, many housemaids suffer from torture, sexual abuse, neglect of their labour rights, and mental oppression. Since their work takes place within the confines of private homes, the majority of people remain unaware of their daily lives and the hardships they endure. It is only when these housemaids escape from their abusive environments, unable to bear their suffering any longer, that their stories are brought to light through the media. This underscores the urgent need for legislation in Myanmar to protect the rights and entitlements of housemaids. Such a law should be fair to both homeowners and housemaids, promoting the resolution of any work-related issues without disputes or controversies.
All employment should be conducted under relevant labour laws and international conventions. Those who have suffered losses should have the right to reclaim their rights and entitlements fairly, without infringing upon the rights of others. Housemaids should dutifully fulfil their assigned tasks, while homeowners must exhibit humane treatment towards their labour force such as housemaids to create harmonious work environments to be free from discrimination and exploitation.

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