BeyondSlavery https://www.opendemocracy.net/taxonomy/term/17588/all cached version 02/05/2018 12:36:18 en Why is Ireland still placing people detained for immigration-related purposes in prisons? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/emily-cunniffe/why-is-ireland-still-placing-people-detained-for-immigration-related-pu <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Research from Nasc sheds light on the treatment of those refused ‘leave to land’ at Irish borders and individuals held in detention for immigration-related purposes.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/3772941382_e770441408_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">stephane333/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC BY-SA 2.0)</a></span></p><p>On 18 July 2017, <a href="https://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/galway-family-left-distraught-by-arrest-of-former-au-pair-1.3160547?mode=sample&amp;auth-failed=1&amp;pw-origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.irishtimes.com%2Fnews%2Fcrime-and-law%2Fgalway-family-left-distraught-by-arrest-of-former-au-pair-1.3160547">Paloma Aparezida Silva-Carvalho</a>, a 24-year-old Brazilian woman, was detained at Dublin Airport. Paloma was entering Ireland to visit the Muller-Wieland family in Galway, for whom she had worked as an au pair the year before. However, despite evidence of her return flight and providing the contact details of the Muller-Wieland family, she was accused by immigration officers of entering Ireland to work without a valid permission. She was subsequently denied entry to Ireland (‘refused leave to land’) and detained in Dublin’s Mountjoy Prison in the Dóchas Centre.&nbsp;</p> <p>Paloma spent the night in prison. However, following significant media attention and political pressure garnered by the Muller-Wieland family and their community, she was released and granted 10 days to stay in the country in a discretionary decision by the Minister of Justice and Equality.&nbsp;</p> <p>The ensuing public outrage and shock at Paloma’s treatment demonstrated how little is known and discussed about immigrant detention and refusals of leave to land in Ireland. Yet, Paloma’s experience is far from exceptional, with <a href="http://www.thedetail.tv/articles/a-nation-of-welcomes-assessing-the-republic-of-ireland-s-record-on-asylum-and-immigration">over 28,000 individuals</a> refused leave to land between 2008 and 2016. Of that figure, Brazilian is the nationality most frequently refused entry, despite the fact that people from Brazil do not require a visa to enter Ireland.&nbsp;</p> <p>In comparison to many countries in Europe, the number of individuals detained for immigration-related purposes in Ireland is<a href="https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/regions-subregions/europe"> relatively low</a>. Yet, Ireland is one of the <a href="https://www.globaldetentionproject.org/regions-subregions/europe">few countries in Europe </a>that continues to use prisons as designated spaces for immigration-related detention. That is, for individuals who have neither been accused or convicted of a crime in the state.</p> <p>Ireland has faced continuous international criticism for its practice of immigration detention, most notably from <a href="https://www.coe.int/en/web/cpt/ireland?desktop=false">the European Committee for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CPT)</a>. But despite this criticism, Ireland continues the practice of placing individuals detained for immigration-related purposes in criminal facilities.</p> <p>In February 2018, <a href="http://www.nascireland.org/">Nasc</a>, the Migrant and Refugee Rights Centre based in Cork, released the ‘<a href="http://www.nascireland.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Nasc-Immigration-Detention-Border-Control-in-Ireland.pdf">Immigration Detention &amp; Border Control in Ireland: Revisiting Irish Law, Policy and Practice</a>’ report, which takes as its starting point <a href="https://idcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/06/irc-detention-report-2005.pdf">Mark Kelly’s seminal research</a> on the area of immigration-related detention in Ireland, first published in 2005. The 2018 report is based on over two years of research, which included interviews with migrants and asylum seekers detained due to refusals of leave to land, as well as those detained as protection applicants and pending deportation. Throughout this research it became clear that little has changed in the area since 2005, and there continues to be a lack of safeguards and transparency in border control practices and immigration-related detention in Ireland.</p> <h2><strong>Border controls: a two-tiered, discretionary system</strong></h2> <p>The system of border control in Ireland today developed in an ad hoc manner and relies significantly on the discretionary decisions made by immigration officials on duty. In our report, we examined what happens after an individual is refused leave to land by the on-duty immigration officer and the safeguards in place for those individuals following their refusal and subsequent detention. These safeguards are based on those employed in Kelly’s 2005 report, key international human rights legislation, EU legislation, and principally, CPT recommendations.</p> <p>The key safeguards examined include: (1) the right to not be held incommunicado; (2) access to legal representation; (3) access to medical attention; (4) access to information on the reasons for detention and an explanation of one’s rights once in detention; and, (5) access to a right of appeal.</p> <p>With the above five safeguards as points of analysis, the report demonstrates how very few of these safeguards and protections are granted in law under the Immigration Acts (2003; 2004) to assure the rights of those refused leave to land at ports of entry. Strikingly, it is only when an individual is admitted to a prison that some of these key safeguards are met.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">It is only when an individual is admitted to a prison that some of these key safeguards are met.</p> <p>Eight individuals who had been refused leave to land at Dublin Airport and were being detained at Cloverhill Prison in Dublin were interviewed for this report between 2015–2017. On the whole, these individuals reported that the majority of the above five safeguards were not met at Dublin Airport when they were denied entry.</p> <p>Although all eight individuals interviewed knew the reasons for the refusal of leave to land, five of the eight did not understand why these reasons applied to them. In addition, a number expressed difficulty in understanding the refusal due to a language barrier, with, in some cases, no interpretation being offered to those refused and in other cases, the wrong language for interpretation being used.</p> <p>Of particular concern is the lack of access to justice and to communicate with a third party once an individual has been refused leave to land. Of the eight interviewed, six expressed frustration with the confiscation of their phones and their subsequent inability to contact a third party of their choice.</p> <p>A further area of concern is the lack of access to justice once an individual has been denied entry. In Ireland, the venue for an appeal of a decision of refusal of entry is the High Court, where cases typically take a number of years to be heard. Thus, reviews are highly unlikely to take place and result in a grave financial and temporal burden – not only on the individual but also on the state and its resources. Of the eight individuals interviewed who were refused leave to land, only one individual was pursuing legal action.</p> <p>With very few High Court proceedings pursued following a refusal of leave to land, there is not only a concerning lack of recourse for individuals refused entry but also a resultant lack of accountability for the wide powers of discretion available to and exercised by immigration officers. There is an urgent need for the establishment of clear right of appeal against a decision to refuse leave to land.</p> <p>Given the absence of legal safeguards and basic rights, such as access to a lawyer; medical treatment; or a lack of a real and substantial review of a decision, the people detained in the airport, especially those held for protracted periods of time, are effectively detained in a no man’s land and in a setting that sits outside the law.</p> <h2>Verifying information at the border</h2> <p>In the context of Nasc’s research, it was communicated to us by those we interviewed in the Department of Justice and Equality that every effort is made by border control officials to verify information supplied to them by people seeking to enter the country.</p> <p>Nonetheless, many of those interviewed for this research reported that not every effort was made by the acting immigration officer to verify their information, nor was all information taken into account before a final decision was made. Two Hong Kong nationals refused leave to land who were travelling to Ireland to attend an English course were deemed to have insufficient funds. They felt that the immigration officer did not take all information into account:</p> <p class="blockquote-new">“They didn’t allow us to prove we had some funds. I told them we had money in Hong Kong. I can’t give the certificate now, because it is in China. How do you know I don’t have enough funds, if you don’t give me a chance to show you, if you don’t give me time?”</p> <p>Further to this, border controls in Ireland currently operate on a two-tiered system wherein Dublin Airport has recently civilianised their border control management with civil servants from the Irish Naturalisation and Immigration Service, while all other ports of entry continue to be operated by the Garda National Immigration Bureau (a wing of the Irish police force). With different training and institutional structures, we would be concerned with regard to the consistency of decisions made at ports of entry. </p> <p>An area of particular concern in verifying information is access to the asylum system. In law, any individual who presents at the border has the right to seek asylum in the state. However, our research found that not all claims for asylum are being heard at the port of entry, with a concerning number of individuals from regions of conflict or humanitarian concern being refused leave to land or ending up in prison before their case for asylum can be submitted. Of the previously mentioned figure of 28,000 individuals refused entry between 2008 and 2016, <a href="http://www.thedetail.tv/articles/a-nation-of-welcomes-assessing-the-republic-of-ireland-s-record-on-asylum-and-immigration">over 2000 of these individuals </a>were from areas of conflict and/or of humanitarian concern.&nbsp;</p> <p>One detainee interviewed while in Cloverhill Prison wished to seek asylum in Ireland. He travelled from Sudan on an Eastern European passport and was refused leave to land on the basis that it was not a valid passport. He felt that the immigration officers were not receptive to his side of the story: “I said, ‘I want to seek asylum.’ They said no, because of the passport. They didn’t want to listen. They said ‘Yes, yes sit down there.’ I answered things, but they didn’t listen. They didn’t want to know about my situation, my country.”</p> <p>Immigration officers need to be sufficiently trained to recognise individuals who may be interested in applying for asylum, including in situations in which the language may not be explicitly used. An inability to recognise applicants for asylum and subsequently refusing them leave to land, would mean Ireland is in violation of a key tenet of the 1951 Geneva Convention for Refugees and the subsequent protocol of non-refoulement.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Places of detention: prisons and garda stations</strong></h2> <p>In his 2005 report, Mark Kelly criticised that Ireland’s only spaces of detention were Garda stations and prisons. Thirteen years on, the spaces of detention for immigration-related purposes remain the same in Ireland.</p> <p>The report found that those being refused leave to land are unnecessarily being held in prisons and are not being returned on the next available flight back. In the case of a Somali man with refugee status in a Scandinavian country, there was no flight back that day. He was told he might be removed two days later. He offered to buy his own ticket back home but was informed that “that’s not how it works”. Another detainee, from Ukraine, flew on his Romanian passport (considered a fake by immigration authorities) from Bucharest and had a return flight booked for 10 days later. He stated, “It is my first time in prison. I am very frightened. There have been many flights every day. Why is it taking so long? For three days I am here.”</p> <p>From the outset, it is important to recognise that there have been <a href="http://www.iprt.ie/key-issues">strong calls for prison reforms more broadly in Ireland</a>, particularly with regard to overcrowding and high levels of criminality. Although beyond the scope of our report, we recognise and align ourselves with those broader calls for reform.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">"if you don’t speak English, they play with you.”&nbsp;</p> <p>In our research, those detained for immigration-related purposes reported their experiences of this overcrowding and levels of criminality. A Congolese man detained in Cloverhill for a total of 2 months reported that during his time in prison the rooms were overcrowded: he was the fourth individual in a room for three, and he explicitly stated that he stayed away from Irish prisoners as a “fight always broke out.” Another Somalian individual who was detained in Cloverhill Prison stated that he got hit on the back of his head in the prison pool room and that “if you don’t speak English, they play with you.”</p> <p>One interviewee from Pakistan in Cloverhill Prison awaiting deportation stated that he began a job in catering in the prison kitchens, but he described the job as dangerous as “there were no cameras, it was easier to take you down. There were many knives. There were misunderstandings. Someone tried to bully me. I am a peaceful person. I don’t look for fights.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Prisons are inappropriate places of detention for individuals who have neither been accused or convicted of a crime in the state. Nonetheless, it is paradoxically in prisons where individuals detained for immigration-related purposes in theory have the most rights and protections in the whole immigration detention process.</p> <h2>The future of immigrant detention in Ireland</h2> <p>The Nasc report makes a number of key recommendations to the Irish government in the fields of border control and immigrant detention. We call for the granting of access to key safeguards from the outset of a refusal of leave to land and throughout the detention process, including the right to access medical attention, to not be held incommunicado and to access the asylum procedure, among others.</p> <p>The report strongly advocates for the use of alternatives to detention, which are already legislated for in Irish law, and the need for greater transparency within border control and detention practices with the regular publication of relevant statistics and information.</p> <p>Finally, Ireland has signed but not ratified the Optional Protocol on the Convention Against Torture (OPCAT), which addresses monitoring and transparency of detention and borders, and it is strongly recommended that this is ratified this as soon as possible.</p> <p>With Ireland set to open its first immigration detention facility at Dublin Airport in 2018, and <a href="http://www.thejournal.ie/dublin-airport-immigration-3959990-Apr2018/?utm_source=shortlink">the tender for this construction announced earlier this week</a>, our report urges the Irish government to ensure that this centre is not a criminal institution and is a space in which all legal safeguards and the material and psychological conditions recommended by the CPT are met.</p> <p>To read the full report, please click<a href="http://www.nascireland.org/feature-reports/immigration-detention-border-control-ireland/"> here</a>.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sp/jennifer-dewan/pushing-for-safe-passage-in-ireland">Pushing for safe passage in Ireland</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-ben-lewis/interview-detention-as-new-migration-managem">Interview: detention as the new migration management?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-stacy-topouzova/global-compacts-detention-centres-and-safe-passage-can-">Global compacts, detention centres, and safe passage: can the world change course on migration?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/5050/chris-nash/locked-limbo-detention-stateless-europe">Locked in limbo: the prolonged detention of stateless people in Europe must end now</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/safepassages/leeanne-torpey-daniela-reale/time-for-clear-roadmap-for-states-to-end-child-immigratio">Time for a clear roadmap for states to end child immigration detention</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Emily Cunniffe Thu, 26 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Emily Cunniffe 117497 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The impact of the 'Swedish model' in France: chronicle of a disaster foretold https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/nicola-mai-calogero-giametta-h-l-ne-le-bail/impact-of-swedish-model-in-france-chronicl <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>What happens when policymakers are guided by their biases, instead of the voices of the people they are trying to help?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/JOY%20NICO%20NEW%20%281%29_0.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Still image from Travel (2016, 63min) a participative ethnographic documentary by Nicola Mai. Used with permission from Nicola Mai.</span></p><p class="Body">Between March 2014 and March 2015, two of the authors (Mai and Giametta) conducted a survey with 500 migrant and non-migrant sex workers in France in order to understand their views on the proposed law aiming to criminalise their clients. The law was discussed by the French Parliament recurrently in 2014 and 2015, before its final approval in April 2016 (law n° 2016-444). This survey was part of the project <em>Emborders: Problematising Sexual Humanitarianism through Experimental Filmmaking</em>,<em> </em>based at the Laboratory of Mediterranean Sociology at Aix-Marseille University between January 2014 and December 2015. The project adopted a participative ethical approach, by including people working in the sex industry and organisations representing and supporting sex workers in various stages, including the formulation of the research questions, as well as the gathering and analysis of the interview material. We compared the effects of humanitarian interventions targeting migrant sex workers and sexual minority asylum seekers in the United Kingdom and France.</p> <p class="Body">The main aim of <em>Emborders</em> was to understand the effects in France and the United Kingdom of ‘sexual humanitarianism’, a concept developed by Nicola Mai to analyse how migrant sex workers are impacted by policymaking and social interventions based on their presumed vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation. Crucially, the concept of sexual humanitarianism refers to the global hegemony of a neo-abolitionist discourse, which systematically conflates prostitution with trafficking, framing prostitution as “<a href="https://pure.strath.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/legal-incursions-into-supplydemand(19e2e2bc-7a7b-439c-b89c-72d1eda5eb1a).html">paradigmatic of a system of male power</a>” and seeking its abolition by removing the demand for sexual services. This trend is best exemplified by the global resonance of the “Swedish model” – a policymaking framework aiming to reduce the demand for prostitution by decriminalising sex work and criminalising the purchase of sex – as an ideal instrument to fight trafficking. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The concept of sexual humanitarianism refers to the global hegemony of a neo-abolitionist discourse, which systematically conflates prostitution with trafficking.</p> <p class="Body">One of the main problems with the dominant neo-abolitionist discourse and the resulting policy solutions is that they ignore the priorities and needs of migrant and non-migrant sex workers. They contribute to their heightened socio-economic vulnerability and exploitability, as well as risks of destitution and deportation. The aim of the survey we undertook in 2014–15 was to move beyond these mainstream understandings of sex work, and to instead centre the perspectives of people selling sex in France on the government’s proposed criminalisation of clients. Unsurprisingly, ninety-eight per cent of the surveyed sex workers, both migrants and non-migrants, were against it.</p> <p class="Body">Many respondents, both migrants and non-migrants, reported having started to suffer the effects of law n° 2016-444 before it was even implemented, as a result of extensive media coverage of the issue well before 2016. As early as 2014, rates for sex work had already begun to decrease and many clients stopped calling for fear of being fined. The words of a 27-year-old French woman working as an escort in Paris further illustrate this:&nbsp;</p> <p class="blockquote-new">“The threat of criminalisation in the near future has already scared away some of my clients: the most respectful ones”. (Paris, 2014)</p> <p class="Body">And the words of a 40-year-old Algerian transvestite selling sex on the streets of Marseille echo similar concerns:</p> <p class="blockquote-new">“It already happened. Every time there they talk about the law on TV clients go down, and then they come up again, slowly. I now do for 20 what I would not have even considered doing for 40 just a year ago. I get on cars I would not have gotten into. There are no clients. So you have to get what you can.” (Marseille, 2015)</p> <p>The anticipated negative effects of this law have been confirmed by new research undertaken between April 2016 and April 2018 jointly by <a href="https://www.sciencespo.fr/ceri/fr/cerispire-user/13161/14567">Hélène Le Bail</a> researcher at Sciences Po-CERI Paris and <a href="http://www.lames.cnrs.fr/spip.php?article329">Calogero Giametta</a>, postdoctoral researcher for the ERC-funded <a href="https://sexualhumanitarianism.wordpress.com/">SEXHUM project</a> (<em>Sexual Humanitarianism: Migration, Sex Work and Trafficking)</em>. Directed by Nicola Mai, the SEXHUM project extends the original focus of the <em>Emborders</em> project by comparing the effect of sexual humanitarian policies and intervention in Australia, France, New Zealand and the United States.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">I now do for 20 what I would not have even considered doing for 40 just a year ago.</p> <p class="BodyA">This study was initiated by a few NGOs supporting sex workers in France, which then commissioned the two researchers to cooperate with them in conducting a survey. The research produced qualitative interviews with 70 sex workers, five focus groups with sex workers, 24 interviews and focus groups with sex worker groups or other supporting organisations – mostly constituting of community health organisations – and a quantitative survey undertaken between January and February 2018 involving 583 sex workers. Its results confirmed the disastrous consequences anticipated by the 2014-2015 survey in France and by <a href="http://swexpertise21.nl/wp-content/uploads/2015/07/Levy-2014-Swedens-abolitionist-discourse-and-law-effecten.pdf">existing research</a> on the impact of the criminalisation of clients in Sweden.</p> <p class="BodyA">The main aims of the law were to decrease the number of sex workers and to protect them by abolishing the previous criminalisation of public soliciting, and shifting criminality to the clients instead. However, the law ended up achieving the opposite of its intended aims. The majority of those interviewed believe that the criminalisation of clients is more detrimental to their well-being and safety than the previous laws against soliciting. They feel that they have far less control over their working conditions because of the falling number of clients since the new law came into effect.&nbsp;</p> <p class="BodyA">And in many cases, sex workers feel pressured by the police to report clients and, if they are undocumented, also experience threats of deportation if they do not comply. Moreover, the study shows that at a local level the law has not always suspended municipal bylaws and regular identity checks, which has resulted in sex workers being pushed away from their usual work places and city centres into more dangerous, isolated and unknown places.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The law has pushed sex workers to operate under riskier conditions with dangerous implications for their physical and mental health.</p> <p class="Body">Besides its failure to produce a decrease in the number of sex workers in France, the law has had a detrimental effect on the safety, health and overall living conditions of sex workers. It has pushed sex workers to operate under riskier conditions with dangerous implications for their physical and mental health. The law has impoverished many sex workers, especially those who were already experiencing economic difficulties and particularly migrant women working in the street. The falling number of clients and increased competition among sex workers has caused rates for sex work to fall.</p> <p class="Body">To avoid fines for clients, the negotiation process with clients has been pushed indoors, severely reducing sex workers’ ability to evaluate and select their clients. Sex workers have been increasingly obliged to accept clients whom they would have previously refused. Generally, the decreasing time available to negotiate with clients has made it harder for sex workers to impose their conditions. Many interviews highlighted a worrying decrease in condom use as well as increased difficulties continuing treatment for those who are HIV positive. Stress created by worsening working conditions is also at the root of various psychosomatic health issues, from alcohol and drug consumption, to depression and suicidal thoughts.</p> <p class="BodyA">The results of the qualitative research also reveal that cases of violence, of all kinds, have increased and that impoverishment, increased health risks and increased exposure to violence form a vicious circle. All of these negative dynamics could have been avoided if politicians had listened to sex workers, trusted the results of the 2014-15 survey and relied on the existing scholarly literature on the impact of the ‘Swedish Model’. They prioritized their sexual humanitarian, neo-abolitionist agenda instead of taking seriously the concerns of the people they purported to help.</p> <p><em>The executive summary for the 2018 ‘What do sex workers think about the French prostitution act?’ report is available <a href="https://www.medecinsdumonde.org/sites/default/files/ENGLISH-Synth%C3%A8se-Rapport-prostitution-BD.PDF">here</a>.</em></p> <p><em>The full&nbsp;2018 report (in French is available) <a href="http://www.medecinsdumonde.org/fr/actualites/france/2018/04/12/travail-du-sexe-la-loi-du-danger">here</a>.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img alt="bracelet-280.jpg" width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/bracelet-280.jpg" /></p> <div style="font-size: 85%;"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-pg-macioti/sex-workers-speak-who-listens">Sex workers speak: who listens?</a>GIULIA GAROFALO GEYMONAT<br />P.G. MACIOTI <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/international-committee-on-rights-of-sex-workers-in-europe/for-decriminalisation-and-j">For decriminalisation and justice: sex workers demand legal reform and social change</a> INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF SEX WORKERS IN EUROPE <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/ava-caradonna-x-talk-project/we-speak-but-you-don-t-listen-migrant-sex-worker-organisi">We speak but you don’t listen: migrant sex worker organising at the border</a> AVA CARADONNA and X:TALK PROJECT <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/roses-dacier/what-gives-them-right-to-judge-us">What gives them the right to judge us?</a> ROSES D’ACIER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/gail-pheterson/at-long-last-listen-to-women">At long last, listen to the women!</a> GAIL PHETERSON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/syndicat-du-travail-sexuel/french-state-against-sex-workers-security-and-racist-logic">The French state against sex workers: a security and racist logic</a> SYNDICAT DU TRAVAIL SEXUEL <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/hydras-peers/sex-workers-want-peer-knowledge-not-state-control">Sex workers want peer knowledge, not state control</a> HYDRA’S PEERS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/committee-for-civil-rights-of-prostitutes/sex-work-is-social-and-not-criminal-issue">Sex work is a social and not a criminal issue!</a> COMITATO <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/netochka-nezvanova/trafficking-discourses-and-sex-workers-mobilisation-in-eastern-euro">Trafficking discourses and sex workers’ mobilisation in eastern Europe and central Asia</a> NETOCHKA NEZVANOVA </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/empower-foundation-sam-okyere-liz-hilton/what-would-make-sex-work-decent-work">When is sex work &#039;decent work&#039;?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/rebecca-angelini/if-you-control-movement-you-control-sex-workers">If you control movement, you control sex workers</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sam-okyere-essi-thesslund/false-promise-of-nordic-model-of-sex-work">The false promise of the Nordic model of sex work</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Can Europe make it? Hélène Le Bail Calogero Giametta Nicola Mai Wed, 25 Apr 2018 20:41:13 +0000 Nicola Mai, Calogero Giametta and Hélène Le Bail 117420 at https://www.opendemocracy.net No loopholes, no exceptions https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis/no-loopholes-no-exceptions <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Domestic workers and farmworker women join forces to end sexual violence in their industries, leaving no one behind.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/IMG_3547_0.JPG" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Photo provided by author.</span></p><p>On 24 April 2018, over 200 domestic workers, farmworker women and allies came together for the <em><a href="https://unstoppable.domesticworkers.org/">Unstoppable Day of Action</a></em> at the U.S. capitol, calling on lawmakers to pass sexual harassment protections for all workers. After a press conference in the morning, a delegation of women led by the <a href="https://www.domesticworkers.org/">National Domestic Workers Alliance</a> (NDWA) and the <a href="https://www.alianzanacionaldecampesinas.org/">Alianza Nacional de Campesinas</a> (National Farmworker Women’s Alliance) visited over 60 members of Congress&nbsp; from both chambers <em>to discuss legislative solutions to sexual harassment. Specifically, they are calling on employers, lawmakers, and advocates all over the United States to:</em></p><ol><li>Close legal loopholes so that workplace harassment and abuse is deemed unlawful in every workplace – no exceptions.</li><li>Make it simple and safe for workers to report sexual harassment and file complaints.</li><li>Provide funding for culturally and linguistically appropriate resources for domestic workers and farmworkers who file complaints.</li><li>Promote policy reform to ensure that farmworkers and domestic workers are covered by anti-sexual harassment and retaliation laws.&nbsp;</li></ol> <p>For decades, domestic workers and farmworker women have been systematically excluded from labour protection laws and have faced extensive barriers to justice for sexual harassment, among other forms of abuse. Most have no human resources department to turn to, and are not covered by Title VII, the federal anti-discrimination law that prohibits sexual harassment, as the law currently only applies to workplaces with <a href="https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/publications/fs-sex.cfm">15 employees or more</a>. Since most workers in the care sector are the only or one of just a few employees in their workplace, they – along with independent contractors – fall beyond the purview of this federal labour protection instrument. </p> <p>&nbsp;“It’s happening to us because we are invisible workers,” said Teresa Arredondo, farmworker leader from Alianza de Campesinas. Throughout the 32 years that Arredondo worked in the fields, she experienced multiple kinds of exploitation and discrimination, including sexual violence in the workplace. As Arredondo concluded her statements at the podium, farmworker women and domestic workers stood holding a banner with the words “THESE SURVIVORS WANT SAFETY AND DIGNITY IN ALL WORKPLACES” and chanted “We see you. We love you. Thank you.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The isolated and invisible nature of farm work – which occurs on remote fields or packing houses, with limited access to public transport – and domestic work, which often takes place behind the closed doors of the employer’s home, makes it especially difficult for these workers to organise and access the very limited recourses available to them for reporting instances of sexual violence in the workplace.</p> <p>“Many of them don’t even know about the existence of the limited law we are trying to expand,” Myrla Baldonado, an organizer of the LA-based <a href="http://pwcsc.org/">Pilipino Workers Center</a>, told <em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery</em> after the rally, further highlighting the need for resources to be more accessible to all workers, regardless of their cultural, linguistic and migratory background.&nbsp;</p> <p>Ai-jen Poo, executive director of the NDWA emphasised the historical significance of the <em>Unstoppable</em> campaign, which brings together two of the groups that are most commonly excluded from labour protections “What’s amazing about this moment is that we are not alone,” &nbsp;said Poo, “our solutions leave no one behind.” Actress, producer, and <a href="https://www.timesupnow.com/">TIME’S UP</a> founding member Olga Segura, who was also present at the action, echoed this point, stating: “If the law does not protect all of us, then the law is not good enough and must change”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Our solutions leave no one behind.</p><p>As the experience of these women has shown, immigrants and women of color are especially vulnerable to sexual harassment in the workplace. During her turn at the podium, longtime&nbsp;immigrant-rights&nbsp;activist and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal&nbsp;(WA-07) acknowledged that low-income, immigrant women of color bear a disproportional burden of the injustice, and spoke about the need for comprehensive immigration reform to address some of the root causes of sexual and labour abuses.&nbsp;</p> <p>The legacies of exclusion that now shape the conditions of domestic and farm work were a recurrent theme throughout the press conference. June Barnett, home care worker, organizer, and leader with the <a href="https://www.domesticworkers.org/initiatives/we-dream-black">We Dream in Black</a> program of the NDWA, poignantly said: “Our work has deep roots in slavery. They still see us as the help. Nothing is different.”&nbsp;</p> <p>Monica Ramirez, President of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas reiterated Barnett’s point: “Farmworkers and domestic workers –most of which are immigrant women and women of color – cannot pretend that we were accidentally written out of the federal laws that guarantee protections to other workers.”&nbsp;</p> <p>As such, implementing the <em>Unstoppable</em> campaign’s demands entails much more than simply improving an inadequate system, it would also be what Baldonado considers “correcting a historic wrong”.&nbsp;</p> <p>As public and political attention on the issue of sexual violence in the workplace increases with the continued flow of #MeToo disclosures, domestic workers and farm worker women are shining a light on solutions for workers who have been historically and systematically marginalised and excluded from existing labour laws. The <em>Unstoppable</em> campaign is particularly significant, as it constitutes an important example of what organising across sectors can achieve.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Want to take action? Click <a href="https://www.actionnetwork.org/letters/tell-congress-extend-title-vii/">here</a> to tell Congress to extend Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, the federal employment law that prohibits discrimination, so that all workers are covere</em>d.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sabrina-marchetti-giulia-garofalo-geymonat-eileen-boris-jennifer-fish/beyond-maids-and-madams-can-em">Beyond ‘maids and madams’: can employers be allies in new policies for domestic workers’ rights?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/penelope-kyritsis/why-boycott-wendy-s-ask-women-farmworkers">Why boycott Wendy’s? Ask women farmworkers.</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sameera-hafiz/beyond-survival-lessons-from-domestic-worker-organising-campaigns-agains">Beyond survival: lessons from domestic worker organising campaigns against human trafficking and labour exploitation</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/dws/ai-jen-poo/out-from-shadows-domestic-workers-speak-in-united-states">Out from the shadows: domestic workers speak in the United States</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sameera-hafiz-michael-paarlberg/new-report-sheds-light-on-human-trafficking-of-domesti">New report sheds light on the human trafficking of domestic workers in the United States</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Penelope Kyritsis Wed, 25 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Penelope Kyritsis 117474 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Subcontracting and forced labour in Italy: a tale of depoliticised labour relations https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lucilla-salvia/labour-subcontracting-and-forced-labour-in-italy-tale-of-depoliticised- <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><span style="font-size: 10pt; font-family: Helvetica;">In Italy, discourses around labour subcontracting in the agricultural sector serve an important purpose: obscuring the root causes of labour exploitation.</span><!--EndFragment--> </p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/3338754961_2d3bcb5a60_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Luigi Galiazzo/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p class="Standard">Over the last few years, issues of labour subcontracting and forced labour in the Italian agricultural sector have gained significant traction, especially after the <a href="http://www.redattoresociale.it/Notiziario/Articolo/491577/Caporalato-almeno-10-i-braccianti-morti-in-Italia-tra-luglio-e-settembre">shocking deaths</a> of agrarian workers were brought to light in 2015. Discussions around these events have been dominated by the view that labour subcontracting and extreme labour exploitation somehow deviate from standard labour relations and are instead related to illegal activities perpetrated either by networks of organised crime – the (in-)famous Italian Mafia – or by a few 'bad apple' employers, infecting the otherwise smooth functioning of the economic system. This perspective has had major policy repercussions, successfully obscuring one inescapable reality: labour subcontracting and forced labour, far from being exceptional, are part and parcel of contemporary agricultural production in Italy.</p> <h2><strong>Discourses and policy implications</strong></h2> <p class="Standard">In 2010, the so-called ‘<a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/11/italy-rosarno-violence-immigrants">facts of Rosarno</a>’ marked an important turning point in Italy as the moment when appalling labour conditions for farmworkers began receiving attention in media and policy circles. This was after a violent riot erupted in a little town in southern Italy between migrants – that were mostly employed in the surrounding fields – and the local population, following a racist attack perpetrated against two men from Togo. Crucially, this outbreak prompted the media and policymakers to increasingly invoke ‘slavery’ or ‘coercion’ in their narrative of the <em>caporalato </em>system. The contemporary significance of <em>caporalato</em> refers to the practice of 'illegally' recruiting and coercing workers, especially immigrants, by&nbsp;<em>caporale</em> (gangmasters).</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Labour subcontracting and forced labour, far from being exceptional, are part and parcel of contemporary agricultural production in Italy.</p> <p class="Standard">In the summer of 2011, another important episode drew attention to these informal systems of labour recruitment and forced labour: the two-week labour strike of about 400 migrant farmworkers in the southern agrarian village of Nardò, who were demanding better pay, decent working hours, and fair labour conditions. While this certainly helped raise public awareness around the dire working conditions faced by many workers in the informal economy, the strike led to one single concrete result: a law against 'illegal labour brokerage and labour exploitation', otherwise known as the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/gunewsletter/dettaglio.jsp?service=1&amp;datagu=2011-09-16&amp;task=dettaglio&amp;numgu=216&amp;redaz=11A12346&amp;tmstp=1316417614599"><em>Caporalato Law</em></a>, according to which:</p> <p class="blockquote-new">'<em>anyone carrying out an organised brokerage activity, either by recruiting workers or organising their labour activities characterised by exploitation, through violence, threat or intimidation (emphasis added), taking advantage of workers' vulnerability, is punished with five to eight years of reclusion, and with a 1.000,00 to 2.000,00 euros fine per recruited worker</em>'.</p> <p class="Standard">One of the most important features of this law was the creation of 'exploitation indexes', one of the first attempts in Italy to define labour exploitation in concrete terms, based on four sub-categories:&nbsp;pay;&nbsp;working hours and conditions; safety, hygiene and health protection at work; degrading housing conditions.&nbsp;However, these exploitation indexes initially applied only to cases involving an explicit act of coercion – through violence, threat or intimidation – which needed to be reported and proved. The law therefore excluded cases of ‘economic coercion’ resulting from extreme poverty, or the need to face unexpected expenditures, two scenarios where workers may seek out <em>caporals</em>&nbsp;voluntarily and accept labour exploitation due to their limited options.</p> <p class="Standard">Even when the <em>caporalato </em>law was amended to expand the definition of labour exploitation to cases that were not necessarily connected to&nbsp;violence; threat; or intimidation, public discourse around labour subcontracting and forced labour still followed a double 'discursive strategy', which persists today. On the one hand, these practices are attributed to the illegal activities of organised crime networks, i.e. the Mafia. This is paralleled by the ‘bad apple’ employer rhetoric, contending that labour exploitation is the result of a few greedy, unscrupulous employers who wish to profit from the exploitation of farmworkers. Both perspectives avoid taking seriously the structural roots of labour exploitation, and shift responsibility onto gangmasters, who are portrayed as operating beyond the bounds of the ‘legal’ economy.</p> <p class="Standard">The result of these two dominant discourses have also included policy measures by the Italian left-wing government to fight labour brokering and labour exploitation, such as&nbsp;the&nbsp;'Network of Quality Agrarian Labour', a measure included in the <a href="http://www.gazzettaufficiale.it/eli/id/2014/06/24/14G00105/sg"><em>Campolibero law</em></a>, or Competitiveness Law. The purpose of this measure is to address informal labour and the labour exploitation of migrants in agriculture through the creation of a network in which 'good' agrarian firms – those who can prove that they have never been convicted of an offence of labour exploitation – can label their goods with an ethical certificate. The Competitiveness Law therefore rewards individual firms’ ‘good behaviour’ with an opportunity for competitive advantage, while successfully delinking the issue of extreme labour exploitation in agricultural production from reforms in the (global) political economy.</p> <h2><strong>Examining the root causes</strong></h2> <p class="Standard">In making labour exploitation appear ‘exceptional’ the Italian government is depoliticising labour relations: it is separating them from the overarching socio-economic processes stemming from the current capitalist configuration and obscuring the context-related <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes">root causes</a> of labour exploitation.</p> <p class="Standard">The reality is that labour subcontracting is the direct result of a reconfiguration of production that started in the early 1980s.These changes impacted both in the developing and developed countries; and are mainly characterised by a shift towards export-oriented production. This resulted in the formation of global commodity chains, which involve increasingly complex outsourcing and subcontracting practices to boost profits while reducing the costs of production. In the context of Italian agriculture, this prompted a deep re-organisation of agricultural production, consisting of the rise of agricultural value chains. In the end of the 1990s, the process of liberalisation and deregulation of the Italian retail sector led to the spread of 'modern' forms of food distribution. Since then, supermarkets and hypermarkets came to control <a href="https://www.federdistribuzione.it/download/dati-2016-mappa-del-sistema-distributivo-italiano/">more than 70%</a> of the total Italian food market.</p> <p class="Standard">Agricultural production in Italy is highly fragmented, with a massive contribution from small-scale farms. According to the latest agricultural census, almost 70% <a href="http://www.istat.it/it/files/2011/03/1425-12_Vol_VI_Cens_Agricoltura_INT_CD_1_Trimboxes_ipp.pdf">of 1.620.884 farms</a> participating in agricultural production are small farms (less than 5 hectares).These small farmer suppliers are being pressured by a handful of supermarkets who demand stringent requirements in terms of quality, quantity, delivery schedules, and, above all, price. In order to remain profitable, farmers pass on the burden to the only ‘flexible’ cost: labour. They achieve this by hiring labour subcontractors, or <em>carporals</em>, who<em>&nbsp;</em>rely mainly on migrant labour, typically from the same country of origin. They organise groups of workers, most of the time on a seasonal basis, and bring them to the field. Caporals may deduct a daily sum from the workers' pay and act in a despotic manner with workers, but this is not necessarily the rule. In fact, many of them are not professional contractors, they are simply workers themselves who are recruiting a cheap workforce among their relatives and friends on behalf of their employers during peak seasons, without necessarily collecting recruitment fees from the workers in question.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Most workers look to recruiters as key figures for the fulfilment of their survival needs.</p> <p class="Standard">While on the one hand the <em>caporalato</em> system emerged, first of foremost, as a response to the needs of employers, it also meets the need of the most vulnerable workers, particularly migrants and women in search of a certain degree of 'labour stability'. The deregulation of the labour market and the dismantling of labour protections since the 1980s – in which Italian 'leftist' governments have been complicit in – along with the tightening of migration policies, have increased workers' vulnerability by preventing them from achieving long-term economic security. This is why most workers look to recruiters as key figures for the fulfilment of their survival needs, and also why they are willing to accept extremely exploitative work.</p> <p class="Standard">The forms of exploitation experienced by seasonal subcontracted migrant agricultural workers are therefore far from exceptional; they are an integral feature of the contemporary agricultural production in Italy. Policies need to reflect this reality if the Italian government is serious about addressing labour exploitation.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/letizia-palumbo/need-for-gendered-approach-to-exploitation-and-trafficking">The need for a gendered approach to exploitation and trafficking</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/letizia-palumbo-alessandra-sciurba/new-mobility-regimes-new-forms-of-exploitation-in-s">New mobility regimes, new forms of exploitation in Sicily</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Can Europe make it? Lucilla Salvia Mon, 23 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Lucilla Salvia 117417 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Changing the conversation on labour migration in Southeast Asia https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/benjamin-harkins/changing-conversation-on-labour-migration-in-southeast-asia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>A regional study interrogates some of the commonly held assumptions about which factors lead to better outcomes for migrant workers.</p><div></div> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/35170053271_df47587707_o%20%281%29.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">© ILO/Jean‐Pierre Pellissier.</span></p><p>According to the <a href="http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/data/estimates2/estimates15.shtml">United Nations</a>, the number of migrants from Southeast Asia heading to other countries within the region has increased more than fivefold during the last two and a half decades, reaching nearly seven million. And this official data does not capture the millions more who are employed without legal status in the region.</p><p> Despite this rapid growth in the number of women and men migrating within Southeast Asia, the outcomes for migrant workers remain poorly understood. While assumptions are often made about the end result of these movements and how best to ensure safe and rewarding experiences for migrants, the collection and analysis of empirical data has been very limited to date.&nbsp;</p> <p>Among the consequences of migration that have been more thoroughly examined, remittance flows have arguably received the most extensive attention. But while this topic is undoubtedly important, the heavy emphasis placed on the scale of remittances can come at the expense of a more balanced and migrant-centred understanding of the results of migration. <a href="http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.515.9483&amp;rep=rep1&amp;type=pdf">Evidence suggests</a> that the relationship between remittances and development is varied and complex, which raises the question of whether the often-unrestrained euphoria about their potential is actually justified.&nbsp;</p> <p>Another prominent framework through which migration experiences within Southeast Asia are understood is human trafficking. An unending series of studies continue to document the large number of migrant workers who are trafficked into exploitation. However, the probity of categorising migrants’ experiences into a simplistic binary of ‘trafficked’ or ‘not trafficked’ has been strongly <a href="https://glc.yale.edu/sites/default/files/pdf/new_slavery_old_binaries.pdf">questioned</a>. In particular, the focus on victimhood and criminality within the trafficking discourse can serve to whitewash the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes">root causes</a> of migrant workers’ vulnerability to exploitation, diverting attention away from fundamental questions of economic and social justice.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The focus on victimhood and criminality within the trafficking discourse can serve to whitewash the root causes of migrant workers’ vulnerability to exploitation.</p> <p>To inform their interventions with more nuanced data, the International Labour Organiation and International Organization for Migration collaborated on a large-scale regional survey of over 1,800 returned migrants. The survey results were triangulated with 96 qualitative interviews with returned migrant workers and other stakeholders to obtain greater assurance of their validity and a broader range of perspectives.</p> <p>A key analytical tool developed for the study was the <a href="http://migratingoutofpoverty.dfid.gov.uk/files/file.php?name=harkins-labour-migration-in-asean-update.pdf&amp;site=354">Migration Outcomes Index</a>, which broadens the way migration outcomes are measured by combining economic and social indicators at the individual respondent level. The result is a single number score, providing an accessible benchmark for comparing differences between groups of migrants, measuring progress over time and identifying the key factors that contribute to positive or negative outcomes.&nbsp;</p> <p>Focusing on changes in the lives of migrant workers and their families rather than in remittance flows, and balancing the importance of economic and social elements in the calculus of migration experiences, the Migration Outcomes Index provides a holistic alternative to the prevailing metrics. Much like the intent in establishing the Human Development Index, it was created “to shift the focus from national income accounting to <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/1354570022000077980">people-centred policies</a>”.</p> <p>Overall, the study found migration outcomes to be fairly balanced among returned migrant workers, with a normal distribution between very positive and very negative experiences. However, the chances of having a positive result are unequally shared, as the demographic profile of migrant workers was found to be an important determinant of their socio-economic returns on migration. For example, the risk of a negative outcome was found to be higher among women because their work is often undervalued and affords fewer labour rights protections.</p> <p>To obtain an understanding of how external factors shape migration outcomes, the study traced migrants back through their journeys – testing some of the commonly held beliefs about which practices and conditions contribute to better or worse outcomes. Many development actors place an emphasis on changing the behaviour of migrant workers to prevent exploitation and abuse, particularly through encouraging the use of regular migration channels. The thinking is that migrants are making risky decisions in going abroad irregularly and that is what is putting them in harm’s way.&nbsp;</p> <p>But the study data suggests otherwise. The problem is not that migrant workers are making the ‘wrong’ choices; it is that they are very vulnerable to abuse regardless of their decisions. Irrespective of their legal status or the type of work they are employed in, labour rights abuses against migrants are widespread in Southeast Asia. Sectoral research conducted in Thailand and Malaysia has documented that women and men migrant workers face exploitative working conditions in the <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_220596.pdf">fishing sector</a>, <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---sro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_537808.pdf">domestic work</a>, <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/---sro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_537743.pdf">construction</a>, <a href="http://www.swedwatch.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/76_thaikyckling_151123_ab.pdf">poultry</a>, <a href="http://www.schystresande.se/upl/files/140068">hospitality</a>, <a href="http://www.empowerfoundation.org/sexy_file/Hit%20and%20Run%20%20RATSW%20Eng%20online.pdf">sex work</a>, <a href="http://verite.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/VeriteForcedLaborMalaysianElectronics2014.pdf">electronics</a>, <a href="https://www.finnwatch.org/images/pdf/palmoil.pdf">palm oil</a> and others.&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The problem is not that migrant workers are making the ‘wrong’ choices; it is that they are very vulnerable to abuse regardless of their decisions.</p> <p>Because they are typically recruited to reduce the labour costs of employers, wage-related abuses are among the most prevalent types of labour rights violations experienced by migrant workers. The average migrant works 60–70 hours per week, for pay that is well-below the minimum wage in Thailand and Malaysia if overtime is considered.</p> <p>Therefore, the most important factor for improving outcomes is ensuring that all migrants benefit from basic labour rights such as the minimum wage and overtime pay, including women and men employed in the informal economy. Many migrant workers are employed in sectors of work that are not even covered by the minimum wage rules in Thailand and Malaysia or are not paid a legal wage due to non-compliance by employers.</p> <p>Conversely, the research findings did not indicate that regular migration is essential to better outcomes, and its impact appears to be heavily dependent upon how effectively policies are implemented in specific migration corridors. Until policies are enacted and enforced that make regular migration a more clearly beneficial choice, it should be carefully considered whether interventions to support behaviour change of migrant workers are justified.</p> <p>Lack of assurance of receiving labour rights protection contributes to a situation where migration within Southeast Asia is often a considerable gamble for migrant workers and their family members. Migrants currently have limited ability to control whether they have a positive or negative migration experience, regardless of the decisions they make. To a great extent, improving the odds of a positive outcome requires changes to policy and practice by duty bearers – governments, employers and recruitment agencies – rather than to the behaviour of migrant workers.</p> <p><em>The full report is available for download on the ILO website: <a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/---asia/---ro-bangkok/documents/publication/wcms_613815.pdf">Risks and rewards: Outcomes of labour migration in South-East Asia</a></em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/benjamin-harkins/why-don-t-we-know-if-anti-trafficking-initiatives-work">Why don’t we know if anti-trafficking initiatives work?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sverre-molland/safe-migration-as-emerging-antitrafficking-agenda">Safe migration as an emerging anti-trafficking agenda?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/roma-rajpal-wei/southeast-asia-new-refugee-crisis-looming">Southeast Asia: a new refugee crisis looming?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-jenna-holliday/interview-dangerous-invisibility-of-women-migrants">Interview: the dangerous invisibility of women migrants</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes">Confronting root causes: forced labour in global supply chains</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-poverty">Confronting the root causes of forced labour: poverty</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Benjamin Harkins Thu, 19 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Benjamin Harkins 117353 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The false promise of the Nordic model of sex work https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sam-okyere-essi-thesslund/false-promise-of-nordic-model-of-sex-work <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The model of criminalising only the clients of sex workers is becoming increasingly popular, but what do those working with sex workers in Finland actually think of it?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/27053274153_cdc5cd3cd3_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity in 2016, Vancouver, Canada. Sally T. Buck/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>I'm <strong>Essi Thesslund</strong> from Pro Tukipiste-Finland. We started 27 years ago, and we mainly work with workers in the erotic industry and sex industry. Ten years ago, we started also working with victims of trafficking. However, our position regarding so-called ‘anti-trafficking’ work has always been quite critical. This is because, coming from the Nordic countries, the discussion around trafficking has been framed within a criminal justice approach to controlling prostitution, and whether we should criminalise the clients of sex workers.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): I’ve heard you say elsewhere that there is no such thing as the Nordic model. But as anybody with an interest in the topic knows, there <em>is</em> something that is being sold as the Nordic model – the basic idea of criminalising the clients but not the workers. This is becoming more popular, so I wanted to ask you to respond very directly to the suggestion that this causes no harm to the women involved. What are your thoughts on that?</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> I think it's very hard to have a person who is selling, a person who is buying, and to then criminalise one part of that transaction. How would that not affect the other part of the transaction? And what we have heard – we have had many Swedish advocates coming to show us how they implement their policy – is that they surveil sex workers to catch clients. We see this kind of policy as a violation against sex workers’ integrity and right to privacy. It seems to be difficult to get the clients without harassing the sex workers.</p> <p>Finland didn't adopt the Swedish model, which does this. The Finnish model is the partial criminalisation of sex buyers. Finnish law differentiates between different kinds of sex work. Sex work is not illegal. It's legal to buy and legal to sell if the person is working individually. But it’s illegal to buy sex from sex workers who are working under a pimp, or from victims of trafficking, or from minors.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">It seems to be difficult to get the clients without harassing the sex workers.</p> <p>The partial criminalisation used to be implemented in some cases, but not so much anymore. In practice it has been hard to prove that the clients should have known that the person had been under working under a pimp or had been trafficked.</p> <p>We have assisted individuals during the criminal proceedings against buyers of sex. In our experience, it was a humiliating, extensive criminal process for the victims who went through that. In Finland there are no traditions or practices to protect the privacy of the person who has been sexually exploited, or the person who has been procured, or those who have had to go through these proceedings.</p> <p>When we counsel people who we think might be trafficked, we have to say that if they want to get assistance from the national assistance system, they need to tell their story to the authorities. Doing so, we further explain, might lead to possible criminal proceedings. And in some cases, the police might be also interested in the individuals who bought sex or who were exploitative. </p> <p>For many people that’s a big problem or threat. They are afraid that their identities will be exposed to maybe hundreds of men, and there’s no guarantee that the person will get any kind of compensation for that process. Cases regarding ‘victims of trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation’ might also lead to two big criminal processes taking place. One concerns the trafficking of human beings, and the other concerns the sex buyers who are suspected of sexual exploitation of the victim of trafficking. All this raises the threshold to seeking help from the authorities. </p> <p>Because the threshold of seeking help from the authorities has been high, we have had to shift our work away from providing victim assistance and identification in cooperation with the national authorities, and towards trying to assist people who are not willing to go to the authorities. We try to find other ways of helping them. Furthermore, at a more structural level, we lobby for better and safer assistance for victims of trafficking and for more effective criminal investigation and proceedings concerning trafficking in human beings.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): So the Finnish model doesn’t criminalise individual sex work but it gets more problematic when it begins to be organised. The basic logic is to make it less likely for women to work under pimps or criminal gangs, I would assume, but what does this do to sex workers organising themselves into collectives? If, say, three sex workers came together and hired a flat somewhere – would that also be treated as a problem under the law?</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> That's the problem with having a very wide procuring/pimping law. In principle all activities carried out by so-called third parties – anybody apart from the person selling sex and the person buying sex – are criminalised as pimping, or, when it comes to exploitation and violence, as trafficking in human beings. For example, renting a flat, or working with a person in your own flat, could both lead to you being prosecuted as a pimp. Even helping someone to advertise selling sexual services could be interpreted as pimping. So in practice, most people would fall under the category of people from whom you shouldn’t buy sex.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The police are often seen as a threat.</p> <p>You should have your own flat, work individually, and not advertise anywhere. You should also own that flat, as your landlord could also be prosecuted for pimping. We also have a public order act that prohibits people from selling sex in public spaces, and buying sex from public spaces. So in practice, working in a safe, legal way in sex work is quite difficult.</p> <p>Pimping crimes, as well as trafficking in human beings for the purposes of sexual exploitation, have been rarely investigated and prosecuted in past years. This means that although there is the wide pimping law, it’s not often implemented. For non-EU citizens, there is however a provision in the Finnish Aliens Act that makes suspicion that they will be selling sexual services grounds for refusing entry into the country. Because of these different laws and the ways in which they have been or haven’t been implemented, many sex workers earn their income in a vulnerable position and find it difficult to know what their rights in practice are. </p> <p><strong>Sam Okyere (oD): In that sort of context, how do they identify victims of trafficking and differentiate them from something else?</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> That's a problem, actually. Since 2004 we’ve had the criminalisation of trafficking in human beings in the Finnish penal code. In 2006 we got this partial criminalisation of buying sex, and apart from that laws and practices have developed to assist victims of trafficking. For many reasons –&nbsp;like the problematic and unclear legislation and policies on prostitution and human trafficking – the result has been that most victims of trafficking in Finland are identified in the labour sector. That’s different from other countries.</p> <p>From the point of view of an NGO working with persons whose situation can be identified as human trafficking, it has proven hard to convince people that seeking help from authorities could be a safe option. Assistance for victims of trafficking in Finland, like in many other countries, is closely tied to the criminal identification of trafficking. This means that a person is entitled to assistance from the national assistance system if the crime is investigated and prosecuted as trafficking in human beings, and not as something else, like pimping or extortionate work. That’s very complex, and for normal people or even the authorities, it's very hard to separate pimping and procuring from trafficking. For NGOs providing counselling and legal advice for persons whose situation has indicators of trafficking, it’s very hard to predict how the criminal proceedings would work out if the person chooses to report to the police. </p> <p>The police are often seen as a threat, especially as this provision in the Finnish Aliens Act enables people to be deported if they are suspected of selling sex as third country nationals. So, if you are caught by the authorities in some kind of raid or any kind of investigation, it might be that you don’t want to tell the police anything as there's always the risk of deportation.</p> <p>People tend to feel more secure staying in even more exploitative situations than going through a criminal process with an unpredictable outcome and duration. The criminal process could mean that one would have to give the names and details of the perpetrators, and they be only entitled to very weak protections. Residency permits for victims of trafficking, for example, are usually only temporary. It's not an option that many people choose.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): One of the main criticisms of anti-trafficking legislation and policies is that it puts a chilling effect on migration. Has that been born out in the work which you do in your organisation?</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> Migrant sex workers are considered to be unwanted aliens in Finland. And, if you are a migrant sex worker, you don't always know the system or trust the authorities. We have also witnessed a tightening of immigration laws, and nowadays it’s harder to receive a continuous resident permit as a victim of trafficking. We used to be able to say that that is possible. Now we have to say that in some cases, you might be able to get a temporary residence permit, and in other cases – if the authorities consider you to be an ‘extremely vulnerable’ victim of trafficking – there might be a chance to apply for a continuous permit. And in other cases you will be deported.</p> <p>This Aliens Act provision which enables people to be deported because of the suspicion of selling sex is mainly targeted towards black people, street workers, and people who stand out as non-Finnish nationals. Finland is quite a homogenous country, and the police carry out this type of ethnic profiling.</p> <p>We think that the approach to assisting victims of trafficking and to preventing trafficking from happening in Finland is too centred around criminal justice and migration control. The needs of the people are very concrete. They would like to have a sustainable stay and income, rights as any other people, and so on.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): What are some of the challenges you face as a pro sex work organisation trying to do your advocacy and human rights work?</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> I think it can be said that advocating both for sex workers’ rights and for the rights of victims of trafficking is considered controversial in the Nordic countries. The mainstream idea of sex work is that the term itself is not considered to be a good term, and the work is not considered to be work. It's more considered to be a form of violence against women.</p> <p>We consider ourselves to be a feminist organisation. But our approach towards sex work has put us in conflict with the more traditional women's organisations. We have found some areas of collaboration though. For example, many feminist organisations agree with our critiques of immigration controls, and about the how the threat of deportation affects the identification of trafficking victims.</p> <p>When it comes to victim assistance, we also can collaborate with some abolitionist organisations and individuals. I think this is possible because in Finland the atmosphere surrounding the debates about sex work and trafficking in human beings is nowadays less radical. So, for example, we have formed an alliance with four NGOs, one of which is abolitionist. They understand the troubles that people face and agree, at least at some level, that just criminalising the purchase of sex doesn’t in practice provide people with better options. It doesn’t create new options for making a living or staying in the country legally – instead it marginalises people. We have many other, more relevant issues to lobby for together nationally, like better assistance and protection for victims of crimes and more effective criminal proceedings in trafficking cases, for example. </p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Sorry to interrupt you here, but that sounds remarkable to me. In many places there's such a huge divide between sex workers’ groups and abolitionist groups. Is there a reason why there's so much harmony, to use the term a bit guardedly?</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> It's been a long process, and it has to do with new waves of feminism and intersectional feminist thinking. It's now more recognised that women are not a uniform group of people, and that different laws have different effects for different groups of women. I think that in Finland, the discussion no longer centres on claims that sex work (or prostitution/sexual exploitation in this discourse) endangers or negatively affects the rights and societal positions of ‘all women’. So it's easier to explain where the faults with the criminal justice approach are with concrete examples. </p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): That's really inspiring, I have to say.</strong></p> <p><strong>Essi:</strong> In some policies, of course, we cannot do advocacy work together. But we usually do. If we do statements together with this alliance, for example, we make a statement about the points that we agree on. And then we do our own part in our own statement, that brings out our point of view. We are hoping that this could be kind of a model for others – if you can agree on some points, maybe there are places for cooperation. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><img alt="bracelet-280.jpg" width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/bracelet-280.jpg" /></p> <div style="font-size: 85%;"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-pg-macioti/sex-workers-speak-who-listens">Sex workers speak: who listens?</a>GIULIA GAROFALO GEYMONAT<br />P.G. MACIOTI <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/international-committee-on-rights-of-sex-workers-in-europe/for-decriminalisation-and-j">For decriminalisation and justice: sex workers demand legal reform and social change</a> INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF SEX WORKERS IN EUROPE <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/ava-caradonna-x-talk-project/we-speak-but-you-don-t-listen-migrant-sex-worker-organisi">We speak but you don’t listen: migrant sex worker organising at the border</a> AVA CARADONNA and X:TALK PROJECT <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/roses-dacier/what-gives-them-right-to-judge-us">What gives them the right to judge us?</a> ROSES D’ACIER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/gail-pheterson/at-long-last-listen-to-women">At long last, listen to the women!</a> GAIL PHETERSON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/syndicat-du-travail-sexuel/french-state-against-sex-workers-security-and-racist-logic">The French state against sex workers: a security and racist logic</a> SYNDICAT DU TRAVAIL SEXUEL <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/hydras-peers/sex-workers-want-peer-knowledge-not-state-control">Sex workers want peer knowledge, not state control</a> HYDRA’S PEERS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/committee-for-civil-rights-of-prostitutes/sex-work-is-social-and-not-criminal-issue">Sex work is a social and not a criminal issue!</a> COMITATO <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/netochka-nezvanova/trafficking-discourses-and-sex-workers-mobilisation-in-eastern-euro">Trafficking discourses and sex workers’ mobilisation in eastern Europe and central Asia</a> NETOCHKA NEZVANOVA </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Essi Thesslund Sam Okyere Tue, 17 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Sam Okyere and Essi Thesslund 116587 at https://www.opendemocracy.net When is sex work 'decent work'? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/empower-foundation-sam-okyere-liz-hilton/what-would-make-sex-work-decent-work <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The world is aiming to have ‘decent work for all’ by 2030. What could that look like for one of the most stigmatised professions in the world?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XN8lt5e9sxI?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p>My name's is <strong>Liz Hilton</strong>. I'm from Empower Foundation, which is a sex worker organisation. I've been part of the Empower family since 1992. The reason why there's only me here (at the conference ‘Human trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery: understanding popular narratives and planning strategic action’, held by the Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women in August 2017 in Bangkok, Thailand), and not the rest of Empower, is that the sex workers in Thailand are sick of talking about trafficking so they sent me.</p> <p><strong>Sam Okyere (oD): Well thank you for joining us. In the context of trafficking then, this is obviously an issue that has always been discussed but recently there has been news of raids on sex workers' premises. Would you be able to elaborate on that and some of the problems that sex workers face with raids?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> I think the word trafficking, and the practice of trying to do something about trafficking, fell on us in 2001. So for 16 years sex workers in Thailand have been living and working on top of the idea of ‘anti-trafficking’, which people are calling now a modern form of slavery. </p> <p>We actually think that it’s a modern form of abolition, because the whole framework has really not been useful to sex workers – whether they've been trafficked, whether they're in forced labour, whether they're working in sub-standard conditions, or whether they're working well. It hasn't been useful at all. It's been quite punitive. People have said that they focus on prevention, prosecution, and protection. But it's more like persecution really.</p> <p>Recently there was a raid a little bit up the river from here. Entrapment operations have increased and sometimes the operations can go on for up to three months, while they try to collect evidence. These are followed by raids, and this raid was 50 armed soldiers at least to catch 22 little women. They must feel very brave. The women, six of them were Thai women but the remaining 16 women are migrant sex workers – so the consequences of the raid is much more serious for them.</p> <p>It’s one stop shopping. They can raid for trafficking but then use a prostitution law, immigration law, migrant worker act – you can even do some drug testing if you like, or claim money laundering. We once were in a raid they even got them for playing music that has a copyright. So it's very one stop shopping.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): It's a real movable feast in terms of the bouquet of laws that could be used to carry out unjust measures in this arena. Given the fact that you said 16 of these women were migrants, would you would you be able to comment on the idea that anti-trafficking is really mainly about anti-migration? Is that something you found in your work?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> Yeah, I did. It's racist and anti-migrant, and it's also sexist because there's a lot of focus on not allowing women to move around freely. You don't want to allow certain people – so the people who are poor, working class people from a different ethnicity – to move around. It's actually not anti-migration, because they do want some migrant workers. But they want who they want and they want them very controlled. </p> <p>The movement of migrants and refugees is actually the movement of people. This is the campaign. They are showing exactly that borders should be open, and that people should be able to move as freely as money does.</p> <p>Most people do not move with document and passing proper channels. <em>That’s</em> irregular migration. Regular migration is you go anywhere you can, however you can, to make your dream, and nobody dreams backwards. So if your dream is interrupted by bad working conditions, or interrupted by trafficking or interrupted by anti-trafficking, you still want to get out of that situation, find a better situation, and keep going.</p> <p>But if you're unfortunate enough to be caught up in anti-trafficking it's go back to zero, because the end result for any anti-trafficking practice is deportation. That's what is at the end point now. It's reset to zero, and you go home ashamed because you haven't made good. There's usually some kind of stigma attached to you being sent home, penniless, and nothing is improved where you live so your dream has to start again.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Indeed. Speaking of dreams, I’d like to hear a bit more about the situation here in Thailand. I think for most outsiders, when you talk about Thailand and sex workers, there’s this kind of utopian ideal that it's a nation where people can buy and sell sex. From the UK you've got tourists coming in with this idea – that it's all very open and accessible and there's no real sort of harassment of sex workers or the clients. Can you elaborate on the legality of sex work in Thailand?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> In Thailand prostitution is illegal. It has been criminalised since 1960, and then the latest law was the 1996 Suppression and Prevention of Prostitution Act. It's illegal to buy and sell sex in Thailand. Yet the only people really caught are the women. Not the not the employer, and not the customer. We don't want anyone caught. Nobody's wrong.</p> <p>Is prostitution accepted in Thailand? No, it's not. It's very stigmatised. It's not tolerated. People like to say tolerated. We say that sex workers are manipulated. Everybody wants to shut it down, clean it up, and sweep it away. Except when the money is coming in. Then we want to keep it open. So you shut one eye, you open the other one, and now prostitution makes up between 5%-10% of the Thailand's GDP.</p><p> <iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rp8jo88KnG4?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): I think one of the lesser-explored dimensions to sex workers' rights is the economic part of it. So often we think about the dynamics of sex work in relation to individual benefit. So some might argue that, well it's work, first of all. It feeds families, which it does, and it puts money into people's pockets and food on the table. But we rarely speak on the national scale, in terms of contribution to GDP. Could you elaborate on that part of it?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> I think what we know is that most sex workers in Thailand are mothers. About 80% are mothers before they start sex work. Many sex workers are supporting between five and eight other adults, and for them nobody is really working to eat. They're building the big dreams of the family, and it's a big job.</p> <p>Economically, in comparison to all the other jobs they've done – it's not like they never did any other jobs, they've done them all, they've been through the list – they've chosen sex work as the one that's offering the best opportunities. Economically the comparison between sex work and other jobs is quite different. Women are earning at least double the minimum wage in sex work – undocumented migrants will be earning at least double the minimum wage, and then it goes up from there.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Economically sex work is much better than working in a factory.</p> <p>Economically it's much better than working in a factory, working in the restaurant, things like that. The other thing is that it offers, at that level, is an opportunity, a chance. If you work in a factory for $10 a day, you're going $10 a day for the next 40 years. If you work in a karaoke bar for $10 a day, maybe tomorrow Sam will come in and he will give me an extra $20. It is a chance that other jobs don't offer.</p> <p>These are the family providers of Thailand, and an informal welfare system of Thailand. It has been a long time since anybody did the research on this, but ILO research in 1998 found that sex workers in Thailand are sending home $300 million per year to rural areas. That's 1998, and we know it will have gone up since then, but $300 million per year to rural areas is larger than the government development projects and World Bank. </p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): I want us to move on now to this new obsession with numbers and indexes like the US Trafficking in Persons reports (TIPs), and the Global Slavery Index, and others. How have these transformed you know the whole project, if I can use that word, for good or bad?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> The numbers have always been crazy about sex work, and they've always been crazy about sex work in Thailand. We don't really notice them, because the only number that matters is what the Thai government says – because that's who controls the budget, and that's who controls the policy.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): But you did say during the conference that TIP reports do affect Thailand…</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> The TIP report does, but it's not about the numbers. The TIP report affects all countries, not just Thailand, because the TIP report is tied to money and sanctions. &nbsp;It’s like getting a bad report card from the headmaster, and this time it's Headmaster Trump. We didn't get one from him yet. We got a bad report card from Headmaster Obama, and from Headmaster Bush. It's nothing to do with trafficking, the report card. Nothing to do with women, nothing to do human rights, nothing to do with migrant labour rights. But what it means is then the government must react.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Given your wealth of experience here in Thailand, what would you say has been the most remarkable change positively or negatively in sex workers' rights advocacy and activism?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz: </strong>I think the most important change is the continuing strength of the sex worker movement in Thailand, and the sustainability. I think that it's not remarkable in that it's surprising, but it's notable that nothing will change without that.</p> <p>In terms of the outside, the biggest positive development has been the improvement in working conditions. Since 1998-99 working conditions in the sex industry developed and improved to the point that we now say that we have more women abused by anti-trafficking than women who are trafficked. This is a big development.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Working conditions in the Thai sex industry have improved to the point that we now say that we have more women abused by anti-trafficking than women who are trafficked.</p> <p>I think stigma against women in Thailand has gone down. That doesn't mean stigma against sex work has gone down, but just that people aren't sure who to stigmatise because now many women will wear something sexy. In the old days only it was the sex workers, but now they're not sure – do you work in a bank or a bar? Should I look down on you or not? So this improvement of less stigma against women generally is also positive.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): In the most ideal scenario, if you were in power and were able to dictate the sort of policies you want to see, what ‘silver bullet’ or single policy would you want to see put in place?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> There’s a difference between urgently and finally. There may be many things that need to happen urgently, but the finally thing is that we must remove the criminal law from prostitution and sex work. We have to get the police out of women's lives. This has to happen because the whole of everything starts from the criminalisation.</p> <p>Women become criminals, not workers, or victims, not workers. The employers become mafia guys, not employers. Customers become pseudo-criminals and not customers. So they all have to be dealt with in a criminal framework, and a punitive framework, and it's a framework of suspicion. If everyone is moved into the labour framework – employers, customers, workers – then everyone is supposed to behave according to the labour law. We'd like to see outlaws made in-laws.</p><p> <img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/27563485932_bdf3d970cd_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Red Umbrella March for Sex Work Solidarity in Vancouver, Canada.&nbsp;Sally T. Buck/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p><strong>Sam (oD): One final question. Empower engaged in a very remarkable exercise of trying to define decent work in sex work from a sex worker's point of view. Could you summarise what you found?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> We began with the idea that people keep talking about exploitation in prostitution, yet nobody knows what that means. We thought we better find out what it means before someone else decides what it means, and so we spread out and asked each other what would this mean? It was about a year long process. There were 228 sex workers working on the project, and in the end the core community that we looked at was 3000 sex workers working in all sectors of the entertainment industry.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">It's impossible to do sex work with human dignity when it's criminalised.</p> <p>What we looked at was what would be decent sex work, what is unacceptable forms of sex work, and we used the ILO definitions of forced labour, debt bondage, decent work, decent work deficits. We just went with their definitions, and then also the Thai laws: the Thai national labour framework laws.</p> <p>What we came out with was a very clear, measurable description of what is exploitation of prostitution in Thailand. We discovered there's about 20 violations of national labour law that sex workers live on top of every day, and that at long as there is criminal law, the ILO will never be able to succeed in its decent work agenda for decent sex work. That’s because one of the core principles of this work is human dignity, and it's impossible to do sex work with human dignity when it's criminalised. So yeah, the rest are easy to fix. It's just apply the labour law.</p> <p>I think what became clear again and again, is that sex workers have a problem with the work, not the sex. The people from the outside think the sex is the problem when it's the work that's the problem.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Anything else you'd like to say?</strong></p> <p><strong>Liz:</strong> Yes, one thing. I hear a lot about people talking about the private sector – I've heard it around a few meetings now in different circumstances: business and human rights, that sort of thing. Every time I've asked and looked at it, no one's thinking about including the employers of sex workers and the sex workers' business within this ‘private sector’. If people are going to move to this private sector, and not bring the private sector of sex work to the table, we will be left behind again. We're going to be something else again. These guys need to be sat down and be with other employers, and realise they're employers. They're not mafia. They're employers.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/bracelet-280.jpg" width="100%" alt="bracelet-280.jpg" /> <div style="font-size:85%"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-pg-macioti/sex-workers-speak-who-listens">Sex workers speak: who listens?</a>GIULIA GAROFALO GEYMONAT<br />P.G. MACIOTI <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/international-committee-on-rights-of-sex-workers-in-europe/for-decriminalisation-and-j">For decriminalisation and justice: sex workers demand legal reform and social change</a> INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF SEX WORKERS IN EUROPE <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/ava-caradonna-x-talk-project/we-speak-but-you-don-t-listen-migrant-sex-worker-organisi">We speak but you don’t listen: migrant sex worker organising at the border</a> AVA CARADONNA and X:TALK PROJECT <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/roses-dacier/what-gives-them-right-to-judge-us">What gives them the right to judge us?</a> ROSES D&#8217;ACIER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/gail-pheterson/at-long-last-listen-to-women">At long last, listen to the women!</a> GAIL PHETERSON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/syndicat-du-travail-sexuel/french-state-against-sex-workers-security-and-racist-logic">The French state against sex workers: a security and racist logic</a> SYNDICAT DU TRAVAIL SEXUEL <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/hydras-peers/sex-workers-want-peer-knowledge-not-state-control">Sex workers want peer knowledge, not state control</a> HYDRA&#8217;S PEERS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/committee-for-civil-rights-of-prostitutes/sex-work-is-social-and-not-criminal-issue">Sex work is a social and not a criminal issue!</a> COMITATO <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sws/netochka-nezvanova/trafficking-discourses-and-sex-workers-mobilisation-in-eastern-euro">Trafficking discourses and sex workers&#8217; mobilisation in eastern Europe and central Asia</a> NETOCHKA NEZVANOVA </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Liz Hilton Sam Okyere Empower Foundation Mon, 09 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Empower Foundation, Sam Okyere and Liz Hilton 115758 at https://www.opendemocracy.net If you control movement, you control sex workers https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rebecca-angelini/if-you-control-movement-you-control-sex-workers <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Sex work in Switzerland isn’t in itself illegal, but for irregular migrants working in the industry that is little comfort.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/FHUvXSbIYRc?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><em>Rebecca Angelini works at <a href="https://www.fiz-info.ch/en/Welcome">FIZ</a>, a Swiss NGO specialising in the trafficking of women and women’s migration issues more generally. BTS caught up with her at the conference ‘Human trafficking, forced labour and modern slavery: understanding popular narratives and planning strategic action’, held in August 2017 in Bangkok by the <a href="http://gaatw.org/">Global Alliance Against Traffic in Women</a>, to discuss the role that ‘trafficking’ plays in her broader goal of helping women and specifically sex workers to access their rights.</em></p> <p><strong>Rebecca Angelini:</strong> FIZ is a very old and typical NGO. We started our work over 30 years ago in 1985. It actually started with migrant women from the Philippines that were heavily exploited in Switzerland. Back then there were a lot of migrant women coming to Switzerland and being exploited at home or in the workplace. We were the first to start to address this issue. We started with advocacy work, and then more and more migrant women approached us with their issues, and questions, and problems, so we decided to build up a counselling centre for migrant women to support them in their daily issues.</p> <p>Our work has revolved around exploitation and violence against women. Our offer was pretty broad and, over time, a new concept started to come in: this framework that was called ‘human trafficking’. We began to focus more on that concept, which meant that we split our services and now have two outreach programmes. One is specialised in human trafficking and offers direct services to trafficked women. The other is a counselling centre for migrant women, and there we mainly support sex workers with their issues. We still do a lot of advocacy work, political work, and public relations, because while we are convinced that it is important to have direct assistance for migrant women, it's also important to address the structures that are causing the situations that they're facing.</p> <p><strong>Prabha Kotiswaran (oD): So if you were to give the anti-trafficking framework a score card for the past 20 years, what would you say? What are the key points at which the anti-trafficking framework has intervened in Switzerland, and what have been the consequences? Do you think, on balance, that's it has been a beneficial framework?</strong></p> <p><strong>Rebecca:</strong> We had big hopes with this concept, because at the beginning we thought that it was very important that this issue be addressed – that people actually talk about these severe forms of exploitation. Looking back, it clear that for one group the situation has improved. When we are talking about migrant women who are in situations of trafficking, Switzerland has implemented legislation specialised on this issue. We have ratified all the important protocols. We have special provisions for victims of human trafficking in our migration law, and we have a victim support act. So, within the framework of human trafficking, we have been able to improve access to support and justice for migrant women that are in situations of severe exploitation.</p> <p>But what we also see is that, for another big group of migrant women, the situation has worsened. I can't really say that it is because of the human trafficking framework. But we have seen that it has negative effects on other groups of migrant women, and that it has turned out to be a framework that is actually a lot about controlling the movement of migrant women, controlling the work of migrant women. We see this very clearly with sex workers.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The human trafficking framework has turned out to be a lot about controlling the movement of migrant women.</p> <p><strong>Prabha (oD): Could you tell us a little bit about some of the salient victories over the period of your engagement with the anti-trafficking discourse? Were there any high points that you want to share with us in terms of the women that you have been able to assist?</strong></p> <p><strong>Rebecca:</strong> One particularity about Switzerland is that we're a federal state, so everything which is important to migrant women suffering from human trafficking is implemented at the regional level – as we call it the cantonal level.</p> <p>This has been challenging for us, because we could not address the issue just at the national level. That would not help because, for example, the migration law or the criminal law is implemented at the cantonal level – and we have 26 cantons in Switzerland. We realised pretty quickly that it's not possible to do this as an organisation. We’re pretty small. Now we're 25 women, but still, with our resources it was impossible to address the issue in every single region of our country.</p> <p>We have been progressing in some cantons where we have been active. We were able to convince the stakeholders, including governmental stakeholders, to engage in the issue. In these cantons we have seen a lot of progress, and the governments there have been sensitised. We have specialised governmental authorities that are dealing with the issue, and that are actually following a victim-centred approach. This is major progress.</p> <p>I would say this federal system is our main challenge. It creates a huge difference for migrant women, as it really depends on where they are being exploited. If they're exploited in a canton where the police are sensitised, for example, they have a chance to access support. In other cantons it’s worse.</p><p> <img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/12865081105_b91171a5bf_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Jennifer C./flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/29638108@N06/12865081105/in/photolist-kAQUpc-kAT6HQ-SYGQy3-3UH5gZ-kUsSyU-bZGoT5-fh75XH-yp3LvB-t7fVe-hdakpM-6NFa56-8WF7YL-7dFarh-8Mzm2m-92FGsp-XuXnDy-6Nsuqj-cjSXRG-4DeJz6-8piGTk-GA3Xt2-rLgo5X-HnkaKK-85jSZ2-rgL6Re-wWPWDL-sMja61-HdymCn-5kXQKz-5EWbt9-pASZ8-bLNgca-ANYbut-aEy9fF-3owsqg-RBcqi-65Bpn4-q9GanH-hFoMbG-BGzWGa-auZ6it-hLb8Ct-57kMhF-5Pof8h-7To8gu-8ymw5y-6far8g-qGht2j-9tU6vK-hFoQWs">(CC BY 2.0)</a></span></p><p><span style="font-weight: bold;">Prabha (oD): What's the Swiss law and policy on sex work in general, and how have Swiss courts understood the phrase ‘exploitation’ in prostitution matters?</span></p> <p>We are lucky that we're in a country where the official view is that there is a difference between sex work and human trafficking. So not all sex workers are considered victims of exploitation. That is very important for us, and we have done a lot of advocacy in collaboration with other NGOs in order to make sure that we are not too influenced by other ideas of how to deal with sex work. So we're lucky, but that doesn't automatically mean that the government is dealing with the issue of sex work or human trafficking with a more rights-based or victim-centred approach.</p> <p>The regulations on sex work are just extremely complex, and once again it depends on the canton for how they deal with sex work. Even though it's legal work at national level, every canton regulates it differently. That means that the process to obtain a legal work permit in the sex industry is very complex and bureaucratic, and it creates a system that is split in two groups. For one group it's possible to obtain a work permit and work legally as a sex worker. But for a big group of women the process is just too complex and they can't obtain a legal work permit. That happens most of the time, and the most vulnerable sex workers are the ones who will remain working underground or without a permit. it’s a type of criminalisation through the back door. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/bracelet-280.jpg" width="100%" alt="bracelet-280.jpg" /> <div style="font-size:90%" <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jessica-r-pliley/sexual-surveillance-and-moral-quarantines-history-of-antitrafficking">Sexual surveillance and moral quarantines: a history of anti-trafficking</a> JESSICA R. PLILEY <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julia-o%27connell-davidson/convenient-conflations-modern-slavery-trafficking-and-prostit">Convenient conflations: modern slavery, trafficking, and prostitution</a> JULIA O&#8217;CONNELL DAVIDSON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jason-congdon/speaking-of-%E2%80%9Cdead-prostitutes%E2%80%9D-how-catw-promotes-survivors-to-silence-se">Speaking of “dead prostitutes”: how CATW promotes survivors to silence sex workers</a> JASON CONGDON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/carol-leigh/antitrafficking-campaigns-sex-workers-and-roots-of-damage">Anti-trafficking campaigns, sex workers and the roots of damage</a> CAROL LEIGH <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/fraser-crichton/decriminalising-sex-work-in-new-zealand-its-history-and-impact">Decriminalising sex work in New Zealand: its history and impact</a> FRASER CRICHTON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/simanti-dasgupta/amnesty%E2%80%99s-proposal-to-decriminalise-sex-work-contents-and-discontents">Amnesty’s proposal to decriminalise sex work: contents and discontents</a> SIMANTI DASGUPTA <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/global-network-of-sex-work-projects/why-decriminalise-sex-work">Why decriminalise sex work?</a> GLOBAL NETWORK OF SEX WORK PROJECTS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/international-committee-on-rights-of-sex-workers-in-europe/amnesty-international-adopt">Amnesty International: adopt the proposed policy on sex work</a> INTERNATIONAL COMMITTEE ON THE RIGHTS OF SEX WORKERS IN EUROPE </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Rebecca Angelini Wed, 04 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Rebecca Angelini 116213 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Crossed boundaries? Migrants and police on the French-Italian border https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/martina-tazzioli/crossed-boundaries-migrants-and-police-on-french-italian-border <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>An eyewitness account and analysis of what it means for French customs officials to force a Nigerian man to urinate in Italy.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/PA-34488242.jpg" alt="PA-34488242.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Migrants try to cross the border between Italy and France passing through the mountains and Passo della Scala, near Bardonecchia, Italy, in January 2018. Danilo Balducci/Zuma Press/PA Images. All rights reserved.</span></p><p class="BodyA">BARDONECCHIA, ITALY – The strengthening of migration controls at the internal frontiers of Europe is not a smooth affair. Far from only trying to gain control over migrant crossings, EU member states are reshaping border policies to project sovereign power and support state prerogatives, such as anti-terrorism. This work has included the implementation of bilateral agreements between national police forces, as well as measures aimed at intimidating solidarity networks that support migrants. The forced entry into a room of the Bardonecchia railway station, located a few kilometres inside Italy, and <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/01/italy-france-cross-border-urine-test-drugs">the diplomatic row that followed</a> glaringly shows the political stakes that are behind inter-state border cooperation.</p> <p class="BodyA">I was there, conducting interviews with the NGO Rainbow for Africa for my research project on migrant solidarity networks, when the police burst in. It is a small room that Rainbow for Africa uses, with the authorisation of the municipality of Bardonecchia, to host migrants at night as they try to cross into France. The French customs officers arrived around 8 pm. They had guns and Tasers, and they were holding<strong> </strong>a Nigerian citizen that they arrested on the train. Their right to enter, they said, was based on a bilateral agreement signed with the Italians in the sixties.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">They had guns and Tasers, and they were holding<strong> </strong>a Nigerian citizen that they arrested on the train.</p> <p class="BodyA">A cultural-linguistic mediator of the Italian NGO, a non-white person, tried to dissuade them. “No weapons here”, he said. “Nobody is authorised to do arbitrary anti-drugs tests in this room”. One of the customs officers shouted “shut up, this is none of your business”, and proceeded with the Nigerian gentleman towards the toilet, at the back of the room. The Nigerian citizen was travelling from Paris to Naples, with a regular train ticket and a permit to stay in Italy, and he could not understand what the French officers were shouting. They spoke in French only.</p> <p class="BodyA">He tested negative so they released him, throwing his stuff on the floor and leaving before the Italian police arrived. A diplomatic crisis has since erupted. The Italian Home Office demanded an explanation from the French ambassador to Rome, who cited a bilateral trans-border agreement signed with Italy in 1990 <a href="http://torino.repubblica.it/cronaca/2018/03/31/news/coro_di_proteste_contro_l_irruzione_dei_francesi_non_siamo_la_toilette_di_macron-192649605/">according to which</a> "French customs officers are allowed to intervene in the Italian territory”. Italy replied that the room can no longer be used by the French, as it is now reserved for hosting migrants. Moreover, as the Italian Association of Juridical Studies (ASGI) <a href="https://www.asgi.it/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/2018_4_1_Bardonecchia_parere_giuridico_ASGI.pdf">explains</a>, the bilateral agreements between France and Italy establish that “the French police can act in the Italian territory but on the basis of specific and detailed conditions […] and always through a collaboration with the Italian police”. Therefore, the arbitrary stop and search of the Nigerian citizen, and a forced urine test on the basis of racial profiling (a black man spotted by the French police on a high speed train), also reveal the broader political stakes that go beyond migration. </p> <h2>Sovereignty over what?</h2> <p class="BodyA">What does this event tell us? How should it be analysed in light of the current French-Italian border police cooperation? The day after the event, Italian politicians claimed the need to regain control over national frontiers. “We should kick the French diplomats out of Italy”, declared Matteo Salvini, the leader of the populist right party the League. His and others’ reactions put national sovereignty at the forefront, shifting the whole debate from the arbitrary intervention made <strong>on</strong> the migrant to the French armed intrusion <strong>on</strong> Italy. </p> <p class="BodyA">Trans-border police cooperation between the two countries has a long history, including the 1997 Chambery agreement that establishes rules for police cooperation. Most recently, on 15 March, the prefectures of Turin and Gap signed a new, bilateral trans-border agreement aimed at controlling migration movements and arresting suspected terrorists. Political tension at the border has visibly increased over the past three years, in particular due to two main political issues: France’s suspension of Schengen in May 2015, and the increasing number of migrants risking their lives to evade French border controls by crossing through the Alps.</p> <p class="BodyA">&nbsp;“You should not dare crossing here. Crossing the Alps it is too dangerous now. With this amount of snow, you will die for sure”, an Italian policeman told four Somali migrants who arrived in Bardonecchia by regional train from Turin. “If you want to be alive tomorrow, don’t try to cross. And also, if you manage now, the French will take you back here, in Italy”. In part a well-intended warning, in part an illustration of the deterrence tactics being deployed along the border, these words demonstrate the different attitudes on the two sides of the borders.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The Italians have little interest in tracking the migrants nor in blocking them – it’s the French who incessantly patrol the frontier.</p> <p class="BodyA">The Italians have little interest in tracking the migrants nor in blocking them – it’s the French who incessantly patrol the frontier and actively push migrants back into Italy when they find them. For this reason both local NGOs and the Italian police try to discourage migrants from crossing. They know that the chance of dying is very high, and those who succeed initially are very likely sent back. When migrants are detected by the French police, they are returned by van to the town of Bardonecchia and dropped in the main square next to the rail station.</p> <p class="BodyA">“Sometimes they give a paper to the migrants, some other they do not officially register the push-back”, an activist of the NoTav movement said. “Migrants know that it is extremely hard to cross. Only about 10% manage to reach France at the first attempt, the others try again and again. For their part, the police counts on the fact that, also due to the extreme weather conditions and the difficulty of crossing high mountains, migrants are exhausted after few attempts and give up, claiming asylum in Italy.”</p> <h2>"The problem is not the snow, the problem is the border”</h2> <p class="BodyA">Behind the struggle over border cooperation and national sovereignty, the question of the implementation of the Dublin Regulation comes to the fore. Both states try not to take in potential asylum seekers, with France actively confining migrants in Italy. These repeated pushbacks have severe impacts on the migrants, who are forced to repeatedly undertake the same journey and to constantly divert their routes.</p> <p class="BodyA">Furthermore, when French customs officers pushed their way past the NGO workers in the Bardonecchia train station they not only intimidated them, but also – I would ague – sent a message to all migrant solidarity networks that are mobilised in the Susa Valley. Alongside Rainbow for Africa, which is authorised by the municipality to manage this temporary medical clinic and hosting space, activists and citizens in the village of Claviere are running a solidarity space without the support of local authorities.</p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/20180330_165529.jpg" alt="20180330_165529.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Photo provided by author.</span></p><p class="BodyA">Claviere, which is located just two kilometres from the French border, is the other main crossing point for the migrants. Unlike in Bardonecchia, the municipality did not open any space for them, and therefore a group of citizens decided on 24 March to occupy a room inside the church. The priest took position against the occupation, but in the end the local authorities could not evict the people inside, due to the extra-territorial status of the church. Moreover, the occupation has received quite a lot of support from many citizens in the area and beyond.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The mountains are not the problem, the snow is not an emergency. The problem is the border.</p> <p class="BodyA">The occupied church is not merely a place for the migrants to stay and rest before trying to cross to France. Its existence as a place of solidarity is an active challenge to the state logics of “managing migration”. In the face of the repeated pushback operations at the border and the risky journeys that migrants undertake on the Alps, the occupants of the church refuse the humanitarian emergency discourse that considers migrants as desperate people to save from the snow. As one said, “the mountains are not the problem, the snow is not an emergency. The problem is the border, that forces these migrants to cross from here and in these conditions”.</p> <p class="BodyA">The French-Italian frontier is marked by border cooperation activities as well as disputes over arbitrary police interventions, yet at the same time it is a place of growing trans-border solidarity infrastructures. These are under attack due to their support of migrants’ struggles for movement, support which goes beyond the humanitarian gesture of giving something to the migrants. Against inter-state police cooperation, and beyond disputes over border sovereignty, trans-border cooperation is multiplying as citizens defy their own governments to become “criminals of solidarity”. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alessandra-sciurba-martina-tazzioli/migration-make-or-break-election-topic-across-euro">Migration: the make or break election topic across Europe</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/martina-tazzioli/calais-after-jungle-migrant-dispersal-and-expulsion-of-humanitarianis">Calais after the jungle: migrant dispersal and the expulsion of humanitarianism</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/leonie-ansems-de-vries-glenda-garelli-and-martina-tazzioli/mediterranean-migration-crisis-transit-po"> Mediterranean migration crisis: transit points, enduring struggles</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Can Europe make it? Martina Tazzioli Tue, 03 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Martina Tazzioli 116997 at https://www.opendemocracy.net 'Let the market decide': the ultimate cop-out in the fight against labour exploitation https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/caroline-robinson-sam-okyere/let-market-decide-ultimate-cop-out-in-fight-against-labou <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Consumers don't have the time or the spare cash to only purchase ethically from companies they've thoroughly researched. Why do we pretend they do?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/2511827111_fd8f8c7537_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Jasn/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p>I'm <strong>Caroline Robinson</strong>. I work for <a href="http://www.labourexploitation.org/">Focus on Labour Exploitation</a>, which is an organisation that I co-founded with Claire Falconer in 2013. We work to end trafficking for labour exploitation, and we do that by working to prevent the structural drivers of exploitation as we understand them.</p> <p><strong>Sam Okyere (oD): Would you be able to comment on the sorts of changes you've seen in migrant labour exploitation over the last decade or last couple of years? Have there been any transformations, or are there trends that have just continued?</strong></p> <p><strong>Caroline:</strong> In the UK context, we've seen increasing flexibility and marginalisation of worker status and of workers in the labour market. People have been moved to more individualised employment statuses, and therefore collective approaches to rights promotion and protection have been, I would say, weakened in that regard. Unionisation is very low now, between 20%-30%, and the position of migrant workers as individuals within the labour market rather than parts of a collective labour movement is very clear. </p> <p>There are things that are much talked about, like zero hours contracts, or short hours contracts, or extensive subcontracting, whereby many workers don't know who their employer is. These relationships have become quite normalised. It’s not longer even questioned whether a business that is utterly dependent upon a zero hours workforce is a viable option, a good option. That is just considered a normal option.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">It would be really important to have some space, gateway, or channel for abused or exploited workers to reach information, advice, and support for accessing their rights in the UK.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Focusing on the UK context, I think there's a paradox here: I'm referring to the Sports Direct issue, and how it seems to resonate with people’s concern for human rights, while at the same time we know there are various sectors where the exact same thing happens under the radar. Is this something you've observed as well?</strong></p> <p><strong>Caroline:</strong> Yeah, I guess it's one of the pitfalls of a response that suggests the consumer is the ultimate holder of accountability for corporations, where it is presumed that the consumer has an interest and time and money to hold every company to account that they engage with or to whom they give money. There's limited work that consumers and the media can do to call out the practices of an individual company.</p> <p>Once there is a spotlight on company practices that are particularly abusive or exploitative, I think people do respond. That said, some did say with Sports Direct that the low prices were encouragement enough to go there regardless of other practices. So to expect that across the business sector – for every business, no matter what size, no matter what their brand image – there will be a kind of public shaming of that company and that people will act is not realistic.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Has there has there been any major impediments to your work at FLEX, perhaps policies or funding issues? What have you found most challenging in terms of trying to do the advocacy that you do?</strong></p> <p><strong>Caroline:</strong> As I said, Claire and I founded FLEX in 2013 and since then we've had four children between us – so maybe that's the biggest challenge we have faced. But other than that, we are facing quite a hostile environment in the UK – in the context of Brexit –&nbsp;towards many of the issues on which we work. Not just the rights of migrants in the UK, but also on employment rights and the role that new trading relationships will have in the UK labour market. It is going to be a real challenge for us to try to ensure that labour protections are a core part of that discussion.</p> <p>Brexit has been a big challenge for us on a practical level. The real upheaval that has taken place because of Brexit and all that has happened subsequently – it’s quite hard to move forward on many issues when you're engaging with government at the moment, because they're so busy with other matters. There's been some very immediate challenges, as well as some broader structural challenges.</p> <p><strong>Sam (oD): Finally, if you were to propose a ‘silver bullet’, you know a single policy or measure which would address some of the problems you've identified in your area of work, what would it be?</strong></p> <p><strong>Caroline:</strong> I think it's very difficult to suggest a single measure. Indeed, I suppose one would be to really counter the idea that there is a single measure. Maybe that's a cop out.</p> <p>At the moment, an immediate measure that we think would be really important is to have some space, gateway, or channel for abused or exploited workers to reach information, advice, and support for accessing their rights in the UK. That space would sit between an employee-employer mediation avenue that we have under something called Acas in the UK, and a modern slavery help line for people who have been severely exploited. There is this massive gulf in the middle, and to address that space would, I think, go some way toward bridging this vacuum of information that we find particularly post-Brexit: so many workers have no idea what's going on and no idea about what will happen to them, and that is really feeding the ground for abuse to take place.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/caroline-robinson/uk-modern-slavery-and-elephant-in-room-prevention">The UK, ‘modern slavery’, and the elephant in the room: prevention</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/msaoh/caroline-robinson/problems-with-britains-approach-to-exploitation">The problem with the British government&#039;s approach to exploitation</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/caroline-robinson/modern-slavery-and-labour-exploitation-uk-s-government-s-dilemma">Modern slavery and labour exploitation: the UK government’s dilemma</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/caroline-robinson/antislavery-responses-should-offer-solutions-not-benevolence">Anti-slavery responses should offer solutions not benevolence</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ourkingdom/caroline-robinson-and-claire-falconer/link-between-immigration-policy-labour-markets-and-">The link between immigration policy, labour markets and exploitation in the UK</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Sam Okyere Caroline Robinson Mon, 02 Apr 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Caroline Robinson and Sam Okyere 115750 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Always an afterthought: women in the informal sector https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-dithhi-bhattacharya/always-afterthought-women-in-informal-sector <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Millions of women work in the Indian informal sector, but very few have a voice at the table. One labour organiser explains their challenges and what they really need from western allies.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/VsUf2gbx76c?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>My name is <strong>Dithhi Bhattacharya</strong>, and I’ve work for the Centre for Workers' Management in India for over a decade. It was set up by trade unions. Today it's more like what people would call an NGO, but it is a trade union resource center.</p> <p>We work mainly with trade unions which have traditionally not been affiliated to political parties. They are independent, autonomous, and they don’t really have a whole political framework to govern how they work and how they take things forward. They’re also isolated because they're not part of the political system, and not part of the central trade unions. We have focused on them, although sometimes we also work with unions which have political affiliation.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): Who do these unions represent, and why have they developed independently of the party system?</strong></p> <p><strong>Dithhi:</strong> Well we're talking about unions from all sectors practically. We are talking about unions of domestic workers and construction workers – the whole range of informal workers – then of course we work also in the garment sector, which is the lowest end of the formal sector, all the way to engineering industry workers. We work with them to take on issues that really affect their daily collective bargaining and freedom of association.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): One particular focus is also women-led unions or groups, as I understand it.</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Yes. Even within the autonomous union movement, they are the unions which are the least supported. These are unions which always come as an afterthought. Any issue that is related to women workers always comes as an, ‘Oh we forgot, let's also put this in. Let's not leave them out’. We work primarily with women workers, and where there is a formation, even a pre-union formation, we work closely with them.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Women-led unions always come as an afterthought.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): So let's not leave them out. Would the two biggest groups we’re talking about be domestic work and the garment sector?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Yes.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): What are the main challenges that these two unions are facing?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Our biggest challenge is the capacity for the workers and their unions to really break this whole system of the fact that we cannot collectively bargain with employers. We are in the informal sector. So, even the unions, we have got into this narrative that we can't engage with the employers. We have to engage with the state.</p> <p>The entire bargaining framework is therefore directed to the state and not to the employers. That’s a huge challenge. We really want, and have been successful in many cases, to take the whole narrative from negotiations with the state to negotiations directly with employers.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Cameron (oD): So union activism in India is mainly targeted towards trying to create new laws, and regulations, and frameworks through from the state?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> The understanding is, if you have a law, then you'll be able to implement it. But that's not true. What I keep trying to tell people is that, even if you have laws, it doesn't mean you'll be able to implement them on the ground. You really have to have a union on the ground to be able to implement them. You have to have a union on the ground to be able to monitor what's happening in your factory. Audits don't work. These kinds of things really will not work as long as you don't have a union on the truck floor which really says, ‘this is not working. You have to do it differently’.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): It’s hard to imagine this is the intra-worker conversation. I would've thought it's very obvious to workers that many laws aren't being enforced in India. We've heard a hundred of times that minimum wages aren't being enforced.</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Yes, but there is this belief that, if we have a new law, we will be able to better enforce it. But what in history makes it possible to believe this? I think there is a loss of history that we are facing today, that we don't look back and see what we should have learned through our experiences. Somehow we think that if we have this magic act, we are gonna be able to do everything that we are now not able to do. But it doesn't really work like that.</p><p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rQDQCu3ANGI?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): To complicate it all a bit further: factory floors are one thing, domestic work behind closed doors is another thing entirely, right? How can that be effectively monitored and policed by anybody – be it state, worker, trade union, anybody?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Well, it's a challenge for sure. But the question is: why do we believe that there is an inviolate right of employers to privacy? It’s also a very complex social condition, where everybody is an employer. Even lower middle-class households today employ domestic workers.</p> <p>If you have the right to employ, you should be within an inspection framework or else don't employ. You want your privacy? Fine. Keep your privacy. Close your doors. Don't let outsiders in. But if you let an outsider in, you have to allow other outsiders in. You have the right to run background checks on the person, but that worker who works in your house has no right to do checks on you. Why is that so?</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">When we're talking about a tripartite framework, you're actually talking about employers, employers, and workers. Possibly even employers, employers, and employers.</p> <p>If you seek protection from the state, which you do all the time, the state is equally responsible for giving protection to the worker – who is an equal citizen. Yet at the end of the day, the state is always looking at itself as a representative of employers – because all state government employees employ domestic workers.</p> <p>So, the state also represents employers. When we're talking about a tripartite framework, you're actually talking about employers, employers, and workers. Possibly even employers, employers, and employers, because even trade unionists employ domestic workers. So it is a very unfair situation, as you cannot have collective bargaining or any form of negotiation when everybody is an employer.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): And so given what you've said about how there’s no magic law, how do you feel about the sustainable development goals and a possible ILO conventions on decent work? Do you see any point to this exercise? Could it be leveraged somehow to workers' advantage, or is it just another round of rich people talking in Geneva?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Whenever there is something I always think that is an entry point for organising. You can use that to bargain. But who bargains? That's the question. At some point one needs to take into account: is there really a force which is capable of bargaining? Are we getting the voices which are really bargaining to the table where these issues are being discussed?</p> <p>That is a more critical point than to say that these sustainable development goals don't work, or an ILO convention on decent work doesn't work. They will not work until you are really able to push things on the ground. When you push start pushing things on the ground, these could be effective tools to take things one step further.</p> <p>But, they have their limitations. One also needs to understand that these are also goals and conventions that are decided while taking into account employer interest. Hence, these are not really in favor of us. But if you are at the bottom of the ladder and you can climb some where to the middle using these, fair enough. Use it. But don't start to believe that these are the ways forward or that these are the answer to our problems. The answer actually is that you need to really organise on the ground. If you are able to organise it, you will be able to achieve it. If you're able to achieve it, you'll be able to move beyond it. So that is something that one needs to look at.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">For many many years the consumer campaigns have always said ‘pay more’. Paying more is not really going to help.</p> <p><strong>Cameron (oD): And one final question. India produces an awful lot for companies that aren't actually based here – mostly the end buyers or end employers are in western countries, the West in either Europe or America. And so organising hits a wall as long as it stays national. Have there been any attempts, or do you see hope, for bargaining across countries or bargaining along the supply chain? For somehow getting out of the Indian context and actually moving further up the supply chain, perhaps by working with other unions in other countries?</strong></p> <p><strong>Ditthi:</strong> Yes well, of course. That is something that we do in garments. It's a very small step, but I think it's a very important step that the Garment Workers' Union in Bangalore has been able to work very closely with retail workers in Germany over the past three years. They've worked very closely with the workers' councils in Germany, and the whole idea was that we need to disintegrate the supply chain. We need to really understand how exploitation really happens along the supply chain, and how both are really at the receiving end of it.</p> <p>If you're comparing conditions in very absolute terms, maybe the German workers are better off than garment workers in Sri Lanka or Bangladesh or India. But when we bring them together, it becomes clear that the workers in Germany aren’t as well off as we think they are. They need to work two jobs to survive. They don't have child care. They don't have maternity benefit. They don't have anything that we thought they had. So somewhere there is a sense of solidarity.</p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/8715951061_59596ded67_o.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Garment factory in Delhi.&nbsp;Ishan Khosla/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p> <p>On the other hand, the first thing that we encountered when we started talking to the German workers was ‘how can we help’? But when they heard from the Garment Workers' Unions that we really don't need your help, because we believe that you need more help than we do, because at least we are a large number of people, the whole discussion went beyond the charity framework.</p> <p>It got us beyond the idea that ‘if I give you two dollars more or two euros more for a t-shirt, I go to sleep feeling good that I did something for the garment workers in Bangladesh’. Those two dollars more that you've paid out of your pocket really doesn't go to the garment workers, but instead actually goes to your employer. They are making more money because you gave more money to the big brands. To hear that gave them some kind of a reality check that the charity framework doesn't work.</p> <p>For many many years the consumer campaigns have always said ‘pay more’. Pay more and you'll go home feeling good. You've done something for the garment workers in Bangladesh. But paying more is not really going to help. That really is a departure from where we think solidarity is possible, and it’s really where you can bring workers together to be able to bargain collectively with the principal employer or the brands.</p> <p>I told this long story because, last June, the Garment Workers' Unions from Bangalore, from Bangladesh, and from Sri Lanka together with the retail workers of H&amp;M and Primark submitted a collective charter of demands to H&amp;M and Primark. This contained both the issues of retail workers and the issues of the garment workers.</p> <p>H&amp;M and Primark were of course not very happy with the idea. The union in Bangalore and the union in Dhaka have already received calls from the brand offices – something that we’ve never heard of in the many, many years that we have worked with unions – saying, ‘How could you do this? How could you go to Germany and submit a charter of demands? You have to talk to us’. And both the unions have responded, saying, ‘Well, we've been trying to talk you for decades and you didn't entertain us, and now we have submitted our charter of demands and you must negotiate with us’. It's a very small beginning, but it's a very powerful beginning.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/collected-activists-and-academics/no-easy-answers-for-ending-forced-labour-in-india">No easy answers for ending forced labour in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-nalini-nayak/informal-but-organised-30-year-success-of-self-employed-wo">Informal, but organised: the 30-year success of the Self Employed Women&#039;s Association of India</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard-ravi-srivastava/social-and-political-roots-of-exploitation-in-india">The social and political roots of exploitation in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard-gopinath-k-parakuni/organising-unorganised-in-india">Organising the unorganised in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sarath-davala/planning-for-basic-income-in-india">Could India support a basic income?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sony-pellissery/searching-for-social-justice-in-india">Searching for social justice in India</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Dithhi Bhattacharya Cameron Thibos Wed, 28 Mar 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Cameron Thibos and Dithhi Bhattacharya 115888 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Searching for social justice in India https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sony-pellissery/searching-for-social-justice-in-india <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>How does one tackle inequality within the caste system?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/z9LTdWrEWLw?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p><em>Sony Pellissery is an associate professor at the National Law School of India University, Bangalore, where he concentrates on introducing ideas of social justice into public policy debates. </em>Beyond Trafficking and Slavery<em> caught up with Sony at the conference ‘Bridging Silos: Trafficking, Slavery and SDG 8.7’ held in in August 2017 in Bangalore, India, to talk about his work and the fight for social justice in India.</em></p> <p><strong>Neil Howard (oD): Could we start with a question that is simple to ask, but difficult to answer. What is social justice?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> My understanding of social justice has varied over the course of my personal journey. At early stages I had a socialist understanding of social justice – a classic understanding of the term, where you go to the streets, gather everybody, and get your rights. But the more I have worked with communities which face exploitation, the more my idea of social justice is being defined by the leaders of these communities.</p> <p>For example, some of my current research projects are with bonded labour communities. Their understanding of social justice does not share many of the well-laid principles of classical social justice. They have a more communitarian understanding of what should be justice for them. For bonded labour communities, for <em>dalit</em> (lower caste) communities, it's more about correcting historical social injustice. That is social justice for them. I've begun to think through the lens in which they want to see things, rather than imposing my ideas of social justice as an academic upon them.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): It sounds like your understanding of social justice has become much more participatory. Am I hearing you correctly that for some of the bonded labour communities that you work with, it's about recognition as much as about rights and redistribution? Is that correct?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony</strong>: That's right. Even within bonded labour or <em>dalit</em> communities, they have experienced their own changes. For instance, immediately after the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act came into effect in the mid-1970s they focused on releasing the people who were in bondage. But more and more they have realised that release is only one part. Today business is thriving in Bangalore and other places, there is great opportunity, and if they don't participate in it they will have no future. It will be like be bonded all over again. So instead of fighting against that, they are thinking of ways to participate in the economy.</p> <p>That's a change. Is it redistribution they are seeking, or recognition? They themselves are moving with the currents. Similar issues are found within Adivasi communities. There were times when Adivasis were told to preserve their culture, their identity. But today, Adivasi communities are asking to learn the English language, and to compete with everybody else. So, each of these deprived communities are finding that earlier paradigms were problematic. That the earlier paradigm of development constrained them in particular ways, and that they need new paradigms. That's the kind of change that's happening in all the marginalised segments of society.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): Two questions then, to provide an overview for people who are not expert in these topics. One, could you outline a way for us to understand the causal factors of extreme exploitation in the sub-continent, and, following that, what are your ideas for what we could do about it?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> Indian society is a very hierarchical society, and the exploitation is hierarchical. It is not the one who is on the very top of the hierarchy who goes down and exploits the lowest. That is not the way it operates. The exploitation is layered. The one who is on top of the hierarchy will exploit the one who is next below. That exploitation takes place in different ways: oppressing him, paying him less wages, demanding extra things. And then similar kinds of exploitation take place at each level.</p> <p>It's difficult to define a standard of exploitation. The type of exploitation a person experiences is based on where they are in the caste hierarchy. To see the most extreme form, the cruelest form of exploitation we have to go to the very bottom. There you see that the form of exploitation is on the bodies themselves. Dalits must do things like get into an open well and clean it, and sometimes they will die in the process. In formal factory settings they might be asked to do the hardest of the jobs. But in this system that's what they are seen as destined for – to clean a land owner's well they may have to die, and they are not entitled for any other rights. </p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): So identity interacts with market forces to make the type of exploitation experienced relative.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> Yes. The other identity that is experiencing extreme exploitation is gender of course. Violence against women is very common in India, particularly female children. The homes in which they work are supposed to be safe places, yet they are often exploited and sexually harassed. These are cruel forms of violence.</p> <p>The third form that you can see in India is the distinction between urban and rural areas. Some 60-70% of India's population still works in agriculture, yet the sector accounts for only around 15%-20% of the GDP. So these three markers – being <em>dalit</em>, being a woman, or coming from a rural area – are generally the axes along which exploitation in India operate.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): On the basis of such a matrix, which has structures intersecting to create exploitative relationships, what are some of the things you think progressive elements in society can do to fight against exploitation?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> What counts as progressive in India today is very divisive. For example, the old kind of thinking – that is, a left-leaning ideology for organising exploited groups – still operates. There is still a lot of buy-in for that. However, large sections of Indian society today – especially the upcoming, young population of India under 40 years old – are less convinced by this rationalistic frame. They would imagine progressive means looking for a freer society, and that leftist organisation is a waste of time. These are the two different types of logics currently operating in India. Both claim they are progressive. But they cannot come together on a single platform.</p> <p>The strength of the second group is that they have a very strong, communitarian logic, and the question of identity is at the centre of the discussion. They say that without your identity you cannot really talk about ending exploitation or achieving social justice. The first group, in contrast, believes there is a certain rationalistic thinking to which you are attached, that your ideas therefore operate at that level, and thus they underplay the identity question.</p> <p>Unfortunately the political currency is now with the communitarian group. That group is winning because the Indian middle class, which is a large stakeholder within the whole game, has built up an understanding of India as a mega force in the region and the whole world. That conception has the backing of Indian civilisation, scripture, etc., which imagines India as a superpower of sorts. To push that discourse harder, you have to push your Indian identity very strongly. Communitarians have been very successful at that.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The symbolism of Hindu philosophy primarily operates through a denial of equality.</p> <p>To end exploitation, they will immediately think about imagery from mythology, or religious scripture. They will say it's been done in the past, and therefore this is how it's going to end –&nbsp;new instruments of rationalised discourses coming from elsewhere are unnecessary. That use of symbolism is hugely problematic for ending exploitation.</p> <p>The symbolism of Hindu philosophy primarily operates through a denial of equality. You cannot have equality if you subscribe to Hindu philosophy. If you believe yourself to be a Hindu, you have to believe in the caste system – it’s at the heart of Hindu philosophy, according to some writers. And that is where the problem lies, as the moment we subscribe to Hindu symbolism is the moment when we also subscribe to the problems of a hierarchical society.</p> <p>Having said that, individuals like Ghandi thought that there was a way to reform Hinduism <em>within</em> Hinduism by bringing in rational discourses. He thought that the denial of equality was <em>not</em> at the core of Hinduism, it is only one of the operations of Hinduism. So there are multiple strands of thought on this, and some of them open up space for challenges.</p> <p>My personal conviction – I'm not sure if it's cynicism or not – is that India has passed that stage to be a transformative society. For India to have done that, it would have had to be at the time of Indian constitution making: the 1950s. The Indian constitution could have been a challenge to traditional Indian philosophy. But that never happened. The Indian constitution is a very rationalist, idealistic constitution. It lives with a very rough ideological foundation of Hindu society, which is hierarchical.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): And you understand this to be one of the major obstacles to progressive alliance building?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> We're not quite there yet in the discussion. So far I've talked about two types of orientation. The ideological divide is one major cleavage. But, to my understanding, much more difficult is the process of a modern polity that has become available to Indian society. This is exhibited through more acceptance of democracy in this country. In many ways, that democratic process gives all the progressive groups a lot of strength. It allows people to say that they can deal with the question through democratic forces, and people do mobilise around those forces. People thus are willing to work through these channels because they think they can make a larger difference.</p> <p>But, there is an illusion about what you think you're achieving through a democratic process and what you finally end up getting. That is a larger picture which people are not able to see when they work very minutely on the details of getting the votes, and getting small successes. But the larger picture remains somewhere else.</p> <p>Where is that larger picture? It goes back to what ideas you are able to forcefully put forth. Communitarians have put forth a strong ideology. Unlike traditional organising, where you go door to door to convince people to attend meetings about topics beneficial to them, communitarians do things like go in front of a school, put up a special symbol, and everybody knows what it means. You don't even have to ask them to come. They come on their own.</p> <p>They have created a highway of ideology to which people immediately jump, while other types of progressive groups shrink to being just alleys or small roads in comparison, which people must negotiate in order to get to the main highway. Why would people not simply join the bandwagon of the main highway from the outset? That's where everybody has to go, as everything else has become small pathways. And for those already on the small pathways, they keep hoping that eventually – after following enough pathways –&nbsp;they will also end up on the highway.</p> <p>That's the biggest challenge. You have a big elephant in the room, and everybody else is fighting it for fear of being taken over by it. </p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): I'm guessing that you would also be of the belief that the communitarian ideology is not an ideology that is likely to lead to emancipation for the kinds of bonded labourers that you have worked with. Am I right?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> The communitarian ideology will push up certain sections of the people, and other large sections will be left out. That's what communitarian ideology will do, because the hierarchical logic leads you to a situation where there are small sections of people on top who have to have all the benefits. You cannot share that with everybody, because 'we' are a special group.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): What do you think the opportunities are for, as you called it, the rationalist challenge to the communitarian? What can be learned from what the communitarians are doing so successfully?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> Yes! Indeed, the progressive alliances are learning from the communitarians. For example, in the past progressive alliances have always foo-fooed the question of identity. They said we all have to be rational. We all have to be alike, and agree on certain things. Now, seeing the communitarians, the progressive alliances are opening their eyes. They're saying that, yeah, there are among us vast differences and we failed to see them, and that's why somebody else has come in and gotten all the attention. Therefore, let us recognise the differences among us, let us recognise these identities. That will help us to have much more meaningful unity than a formal unity that was wished for. That change is now happening. What will come out of it, and how far it will go, I don't know. But change is happening. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">There are among us vast differences and we failed to see them, and that's why somebody else has come in and gotten all the attention.</p> <p>There is hope. Something we haven't talked about yet is how knowledge is created and used in different types of alliances. Within the communitarian paradigm, knowledge is sometimes subjugated for the purpose for which you're fighting. In other words, more of a religious kind of knowledge creation – you don't challenge the basic text. You still have knowledge, but you operate within that. Opened inquiry is not required.</p> <p>Certain progressive groups have also struggled because they've been looking to the west for their source of knowledge. They have not been able to create an indigenous base of knowledge for their context, and thus appropriate knowledge for dealing with social justice questions is not getting created.</p><p> <img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/12480151013_84c707a113_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Wall stencil in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. Adam Jones/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC BY-SA 2.0)</a></span></p><p><strong>Neil (oD): You see a real need for participatory, contextually specific knowledge.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> It's not there, and that creates uninformed members of society regarding the sorts of social justice they are looking for. The moment you talk about a very rationalist social justice it's coming from somewhere else. It’s not contextualised, and the class question is not mixing with the caste question.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): They're missing the locally meaningful symbols, through which they can translate the rational concept.</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> That is a huge problem for addressing meaningful exploitation, and I think these are the types of tools you need to address them. Within them you will be at a loss.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): Before we finish, what sort of policies do you think would be necessary, assuming that the rationalists get their act together and that there is a change in the political order, to address the extreme exploitation that takes place in India?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> There's a larger pre-issue to that. In the Indian context, the moment we use policy we take on a huge amount of baggage. The state is not visible here, or it's seen as a repressive force. The state is the one who is sending police to arrest me rather than to protect me. The state is seen as a problem here. The moment we talk policy to solve an issue, within the Indian context it takes on a very different kind of colour. So – I think the answer to this for many of the progressive groups is to organise people. What that basically means is that they see the solutions as coming from society rather than the state. The state will always be a problem creator and a predator. But society is good, and you can trust society. You can trust people.</p> <p>Given Indian society's post-colonial situation of the state, the whole feeling is that we should get rid of the state. So, policy-as-a-solution has a very limited reach in a country like ours. Solutions might not come from policy, they might have to come from elsewhere.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Policy-as-a-solution has a very limited reach in a country like India.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): Given that context, are there other ways you can see for reducing the kinds of exploitation we are talking about?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> One of the ideas we have experimented with in both the university and elsewhere is the idea of reimaging the government as an instrument which gives an opening for starting deliberations or discussions. For example, several policy changes have been suggested in recent times. One of them has been a big debate on labour courts. We see this as an opportunity for starting a discussion. The moment government issues a labour court, which everybody thinks is going to be very problematic and create further inequalities, we see that as a further opportunity for discussion among labour groups. It's also an opportunity to lead the government by discussion, or reconstitute the government by discussion.</p> <p>I don't think any policy that is prescribed here will have acceptance by society as is. But you can push it further, work on it, and make it better, rather than leaving it as is.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): A final question about basic income. For a moment, let's assume in the abstract that the state is not a predator and can be trusted to transfer money to every citizen. Would that contribute to the reduction of exploitation?</strong></p> <p><strong>Sony:</strong> I think it would not. The reason is that different states in India have different levels of human development, income, etc. You can easily identify at least four of five 'types' of state in India. So when you say a basic income for all of India, for many of us that can be seen as a threat to the purpose for which India became a union. India became a union on the premise that each state can keep its identity. Each state can keep their basic autonomy. That is the principle, and you can't experiment here like you did in Europe, where you created a single economic system and said everyone fell within that. That is a very big proposition. If we have a single basic income created at the national level, it would be too low for some states, and very good for some people.</p> <p>There are researchers who have done some kind of calibration regarding what a basic income in India would be. It works out to be 10,000 rupees per month. 10,000 rupees per month for a domestic worker is good money. It's almost her salary per month. But for large sections of the middle class and upper middle class, it's not what they are looking for.</p> <p>And, if the middle class doesn't give its assent to a basic income proposal, it has got very little viability to be accepted. And that is something which is to be contrasted with the European experience. There, the welfare state is about middle class. It's about getting pension, getting unemployment benefits – it's about the middle class, about nearly everybody except for perhaps the top 5% or so. But here, the welfare state or basic income proposals become attractive only for the poorest class. Not for the middle class and upper class. Thus, it's not going to end inequality. It's going to become yet another welfare measure which might help the poor section that finds it attractive.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/collected-activists-and-academics/no-easy-answers-for-ending-forced-labour-in-india">No easy answers for ending forced labour in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-nalini-nayak/informal-but-organised-30-year-success-of-self-employed-wo">Informal, but organised: the 30-year success of the Self Employed Women&#039;s Association of India</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard-ravi-srivastava/social-and-political-roots-of-exploitation-in-india">The social and political roots of exploitation in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard-gopinath-k-parakuni/organising-unorganised-in-india">Organising the unorganised in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sarath-davala/planning-for-basic-income-in-india">Could India support a basic income?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Sony Pellissery Mon, 26 Mar 2018 07:00:00 +0000 Sony Pellissery 116585 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Hidden in plain sight: forced labour constructing China https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/peter-bengsten/hidden-in-plain-sight-forced-labour-constructing-china <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Invisible coercion through withheld wages, lack of employment contracts, and discrimi-nation of migrant workers is widespread in China's construction sector.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/32343598752_475a87a546_o%20copy.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Construction Worker on Bamboo Scaffolding in Xingpingzhen, Guangxi, China. Chris Goldberg/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/chrisgold/32343598752/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p>To most people, the Chinese New Year equals colourful parades and amazing fireworks, but at year-end construction workers in China are above all concerned about the question: ‘do I get paid this year’?</p> <p>Thousands don’t. Hundreds of thousands receive something not even close to the promised salary. Wage arrears protests have been booming in the months leading up to the New Year on 16 February. Far from every protest gets violent, but when they do, losses are bigger than just the annual pay. Many bloggers show photos of <a href="http://bbs.tianya.cn/post-828-1474786-1.shtml">workers beaten to a pulp</a>. </p> <p>Attacks on employers happen too, although less commonly, such as when the 31-year-old construction worker Cato <a href="http://news.sina.com.cn/c/2017-11-13/doc-ifynsait7725949.shtml">stabbed his employer</a> in an argument about his pay in November 2017. Multiple cases of worker suicides and employer homicides are registered each year, and a local court counted 18 murders related to wage arrears within the last year in Beijing alone. Approximately 70% took place in the two months before New Year. Wage arrears and debt have become one of the most common motives in murder cases according to Beijing Intermediate Court no. 3.</p> <h2>Living on IOUs</h2> <p>Wage arrears in the construction sector account for over <a href="http://maps.clb.org.hk/strikes/en">one-third of all protests in China</a> registered and published online by China Labour Bulletin, a Hong Kong based organisation. Many reports have documented the massive scale of withheld wages and lack of payment. A 10,000 questionnaire survey by Little Bird, a Chinese labour NGO, concluded that over 75% of construction workers received, or expected to receive, salaries less frequent than half-yearly. Most hoped to get paid eventually by year-end, despite <a href="http://www.npc.gov.cn/englishnpc/Law/2007-12/12/content_1383754.htm">legislation stipulating that salary must be paid on monthly basis</a>.</p> <p>China’s construction sector accounts for 55 million workers according to official statistics. Rural migrants comprise the vast majority. Half of all construction workers are estimated to have been deprived of payment at least once in their lifetime according to Chinese scholars and labour groups. </p> <p class="mag-quote-right">“Workers have no choice but to accept conditions at-hand or get fired and lose months of pay.”</p> <p>“Many workers are forced to take unreasonable arrangement when their wages are withheld”, said Michael Ma, a&nbsp; project officer in SACOM, a Hong Kong based organisation that last year revealed <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/oct/06/laptop-firms-accused-of-labour-abuses-against-chinese-students-sony-hp-acer">forced student internships among the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers</a>. “Workers have no choice but to accept conditions at-hand or get fired and lose months of pay”.</p> <p>Other exploitations are equally prevalent. Lack of em­ploy­ment contracts is widespread, and excessive and illegal overtime is abundant. On countless construction sites, unpaid workers are dependent on employers for housing and food. Often, migrant workers lack local networks and are systemically discriminated against when accessing social services and other support when working on construction sites far away from their rural home towns. According to International Labour Organisation, such issues are <a href="http://www.ilo.org/global/topics/forced-labour/publications/WCMS_203832/lang--en/index.htm">indicators of forced labour</a>. </p> <p class="yiv8210909066msonormal">“Withholding wages contains a substantial coercive element by itself. In other industries, and countries, such conditions combined are debated as potential indicators of forced labour”, said Matt Friedman, the former UN regional manager of anti-trafficking in Asia. “When your wage is withheld, how much are you then inclined to complain about unpaid extra work, incorrect registered overtime, poor accommodation let alone the lack of monthly payments for many months? The risk of getting fired is very real and then the hope of getting paid eventually is lost for good”.</p> <h2>Stay quiet, or be fired</h2><p class="yiv8210909066msonormal">On a construction site in the Haidan District of Beijing, Cheng, a foreman, and Gao, an excavator, are part of a work gang from a rural part of the Henan Province expecting to see their first pay check at the end of the year. Housed on-site, they work without contracts 9-10 hours a day, most days a month.</p> <p>“I know of many who get no pay in months. We just continue working, hoping to get paid at year-end. Sometimes we don’t, it happened for me on my last job. I called the boss. He said it would come in June, but it never did”, said Cheng, who has worked 10 years in construction. </p> <p>Workers rarely protest, while the construction is ongoing. Easy to replace and less homogenous compared to workers in manufacturing, they stick to the promise of payment at New Year or at the end of the project. </p> <p>“What can you do? If you complain while work is ongoing, you get fired and never see any money”, said Chang, a former construction worker turned activist. Keegan Elmer of China Labour Bulletin agrees: “Construction workers do not have the same leverage as workers in manufacturing who can tempo­ra­rily halt the assembly line, inflicting serious losses for employers”.</p> <p>In bigger cities, labour NGOs are trying to help construction workers. </p> <p>“Many who seek our help don’t have a contract to document their employment relationship. We sec­ret­ly record talks between workers and their employers to prove it, so workers have documentation to bring along to local authorities for compensation claims”, said Zhang, a labour NGO coordi­nator in an outer district of Shenzhen. “They are not easy to help. If they are not paid at New Year and live on-site, they could hurry on for another job at another site, especially if their family has debt to repay”.</p> <p>Most labour NGOs have limited capacity. To many, assisting in wage compen­sation is a deman­ding task itself. Issues are addressed individually and always after the damage has been done – such as lack of pay, compensation for overtime, compensation for workplace injuries – instead of combined as cases of forced labour. Within the dominating, authoritative discourse such issues are addressed as labour disputes. But a forced labour perspective could trigger discussions about meaningful preventive measures instead of compensation actions taking place retrospectively.</p> <h2>Where is the enforcement?</h2> <p>The government recognises the problem of wage arrears. Each year, <a href="http://china.huanqiu.com/article/2017-01/9911728.html">authorities campaign to collect overdue pay</a>. In the Zhejiang Province alone, £332 million was recovered for distribution among 258,000 workers in 2016. Yet, many more workers are left without assistance. Authorities regularly put forward new measures and deadlines to address the problem, but enforcement is lacking behind. In 2012, the govern­ment promised to eliminate it by 2015. Last year, the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Security announced that <a href="http://news.sina.com.cn/o/2017-07-19/doc-ifyiamif3518205.shtml?cre=newspagepc&amp;mod=f&amp;loc=2&amp;r=9&amp;doct=0&amp;rfunc=100">wage arrears would be eradicated in 2020</a>. </p> <p>“Despite improved labour laws, the practice of withholding wages, unpaid wages and lack of contracts is still widespread”, said Michael Ma of SACOM. “Many mistrust the legal system. Together with the lack of independent unions, many workers believe they are alone and helpless”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">“Many mistrust the legal system. Together with the lack of independent unions, many workers believe they are alone and helpless”</p> <p>The International Labour Organisation is unable to comment as the issue had never been discussed by the ILO supervisory system in terms of forced labour. This is because because China has not ratified ILO Forced Labour Convention 29, though <a href="http://www.ilo.org/beijing/information-resources/public-information/press-releases/WCMS_601884/lang--en/index.htm">ratification is discussed</a>. Other UN officials couldn’t comment either as the issue had not been discussed by the UN Human Rights Council.</p> <p class="yiv1577000687msonormal">“There are widespread abuses and exploitation practices in China’s construction sector, many amounting to forced labour and the government should do much more to address them in a comprehensive way”, said Jakub Sobik, spokesman for Anti-Slavery International. “The difficulties investigating such issues in China make it hard to document the extent and forms of forced labour there, so opening up for scrutiny has to be the first step to addressing these problems”. </p> <p>Forced labour among ordinary workers on China’s ordinary labour market receives vanishing little attention from the inter­national community. Only three cases of forced labour in China have had substantial international attention within the last decade: <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/jun/16/china.jonathanwatts">In brick kilns</a> since 2007, <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/jun/25/primark-denies-purchasing-clothes-made-forced-labour-camps-prisons">in prisons</a> because of the <em>laogai</em> system of ‘education through work’, and in the current case of <a href="https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/oct/06/laptop-firms-accused-of-labour-abuses-against-chinese-students-sony-hp-acer">forced student internships among the world’s biggest electronics manufacturers</a>, besides the odd stories about exploitation of persons with disabilities. Even the US Department of Labor relies almost solely on decade-old sources for China in its widely-recognized <a href="https://www.dol.gov/ilab/reports/child-labor/list-of-goods/">List of goods produced by forced labour</a>.</p> <p>It’s not easy, and the Foreign NGO law of January 1, 2017 has not made it easier. Still, if the UN Sustainable Development Goal on eradicating modern slavery, including forced labour, is to be taken seriously, then a closer look into forced labour in China is needed.</p> <p class="blockquote-new">Names of persons from mainland China have been anonymized.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/latisa-kindred/weareoutihicks-fight-to-end-gender-based-violence-in-construction-secto">#WeAreOutiHicks: the fight to end gender-based violence in the construction sector</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-4">Confronting the root causes of forced labour: restrictive mobility regimes</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/jens-lerche/ilo-campaigns-missing-wood-for-trees">ILO campaigns: missing the wood for the trees?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-7">Confronting the root causes of forced labour: outsourcing</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Peter Bengsten Thu, 22 Mar 2018 18:24:58 +0000 Peter Bengsten 116165 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Neoabolitionism’s last laugh: India must rethink trafficking https://www.opendemocracy.net/prabha-kotiswaran/neoabolitionism-s-last-laugh-india-must-rethink-trafficking <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>India’s new trafficking bill seeks a wide array of new powers to punish, but does nothing to address the causes of exploitation in the first place.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/8386167868_c1e0f9db69_h-%281%29.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Carpet weaving in Rajastan, India. Jeffrey Leventhal for ILO/Flickr. <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/iloasiapacific/8386167868/in/photolist-dM4ixb-foEUqq-7Jd4AR-eGzgpz-9761aG-pQbmFB-GrBMCG-phSi9y-dM4eYm-fzADbE-7V9BKB-tYgK2-foEz8U-6BxAua-dDMwYP-9Ev1SB-foqy5X-dcavpx-a5FbUb-a16oGn-foqz1F-2sCJaT-foqdgr-q9yhq4-5VPcGC-foEFkd-4kz47E-GATnYL-6WWT9V-a2bpBa-3brkWN-6jtT8V-dg2GUh-a438gH-tav1Z-2Ygx3M-dLXKwc-7FoUxy-b2YJbn-Noxg9-6gPVRp-8a9QK-duh1QY-e9cWh4-iETevr-hE5oza-5rzvAr-7m8ibk-dM4cXE-7riM6Y">CC (by-nd)</a></p> <p>In October 2017, India vehemently protested the release of the <a href="https://www.alliance87.org/2017ge/modernslavery#!section=0">Global Estimates of Modern Slavery: Forced Labour and Forced Marriage</a> (GEMS) by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Walk Free Foundation (WFF) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM). GEMS estimated that there were 40.3 million&nbsp; ‘modern slaves’ worldwide with 24.9 million persons in forced labour and 15.4 million in forced marriage.</p> <p>GEMS did not name countries, but the writing on the wall was clear. After all, the GEMS study conducted 17,000 survey interviews in India, compared to 1000 interviews in most countries, and 61.78% of the 40.3 million ‘modern slaves’ were in Asia and the Pacific. Furthermore, the WFF had, the year before, estimated that of the 45.8 million ‘modern slaves’ worldwide, 40% were in India alone. Registering its protest with the ILO, India vowed to undertake its own surveys. Bibek Debroy, economic adviser to the prime minister and member of Niti Aayog (the think-tank responsible for the sustainable development goals or SDGs), was scathing in his critique of GEMS. He called its estimates on forced marriage “confused and fuddled” and urged reliance on the government’s reports on child marriage. </p> <p>But as GEMS forms the baseline for achieving SDG 8.7 (requiring states to eradicate forced labour, end modern slavery and human trafficking; prohibit and eliminate the worst forms of child labour; and by 2025 end child labour), India’s desire to measure ‘more’ and ‘better’ to protect its international image is wholly inadequate. Rather than succumb to the cult of the numbers game played by international organisations and philanthrocapitalists, India could be more ambitious.</p> <p>It could, for example, assert a leadership role in the global fight against exploitation by countering the influence of neo-abolitionism. This is a discourse that perpetuates sensationalist accounts of ‘modern slaves’ as victims tricked by unscrupulous traffickers, beaten into submission for exploitation and whose only hope is to be rescued, rehabilitated and repatriated by law-enforcing heroes. After all, long before neo-abolitionist groups like WFF and a handful of western countries set the global (and Indian) policy agenda on ‘trafficking’, India and Brazil had already developed a rich, indigenous jurisprudence on exploitation with a structural understanding of coercion and exploitation in labour markets backed by a creative regulatory response. But sadly, today, the Indian government is set to introduce the Trafficking of Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill (Trafficking Bill), which exemplifies neo-abolitionism.</p> <h2>Yet another flawed law</h2> <p>Elsewhere I have written about India’s complex <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/prabha-kotiswaran/empty-gestures-critique-of-india-s-new-trafficking-bill">patch-work</a> of anti-trafficking laws ranging from the Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) to the Immoral Traffic Prevention Act, 1986 (ITPA) to social welfare legislations on contract labour, bonded labour and inter-state migrant work. While criminal laws like the IPC and ITPA target ‘bad men’ traffickers (rotten apples), labour laws presume endemic exploitation in Indian labour markets and use a combination of penal, labour and contract laws to impose obligations for better working conditions on intermediaries. Unfortunately, as the topic of trafficking gained international prominence, the Indian government began to understand trafficking as equivalent to sex trafficking and sex work itself. It came close to punishing customers of sex workers in 2005 and conflated trafficking with voluntary sex work in 2013.</p> <p>The current definition of trafficking in Section 370 of the IPC is not limited to the sex sector. However, despite the abysmally low convictions for trafficking worldwide (below 6000 in 2013), and the historical abuse of the criminal law in several Asian countries to further marginalise vulnerable populations, the Trafficking Bill, which builds out Section 370 and has been in the works since May 2016, is patently neo-abolitionist.</p> <p>The bill is highly carceral and pursues the classic raid-rescue-rehabilitation model, with stringent penalties for trafficking, including life imprisonment for its aggravated forms, reversals of burden of proof and provisions for stripping traffickers of their assets. It creates a plethora of new institutions with unclear roles, capacious powers (including for surveillance) and no accountability, alongside a parallel adjudication machinery with special courts and special public prosecutors. There is no clarity on how the bill relates to the ITPA and to labour laws.</p> <p>What should India do instead? In a <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/collected-activists-and-academics/no-easy-answers-for-ending-forced-labour-in-india">recent statement</a>, scholars, activists and workers’ rights groups argued against extending a criminal law, raid-rescue-rehabilitation model beyond sex work to other labour sectors. They called instead for a multi-faceted legal and economic strategy; robust implementation of labour laws; a universal social protection floor; self-organisation of workers; improved labour inspection, including in the informal economy; and corporate accountability for decent work conditions.</p> <p>They also reiterated the need for systemic reforms to counter distress migration; end caste-based discrimination; ensure sustainable development; redistribute resources; enforce the rural employment guarantee legislation; avoid the indiscriminate ‘rescue’ of voluntary sex workers; and protect migrants’ mobility and rights, domestically and internationally.</p> <p>As the introduction of the trafficking bill in parliament appears imminent, only a bold, creative and holistic response to what is fundamentally a socio-economic problem of labour exploitation can help realise SDG 8.7. Otherwise, the very neo-abolitionists that the Indian government countered last year will have the last laugh. </p> <blockquote> <p>A <a href="http://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/rethinking-trafficking/article22735293.ece">shorter version of this article</a> was published on 13 February 2018 in <em>The Hindu</em>.</p> </blockquote> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/collected-activists-and-academics/no-easy-answers-for-ending-forced-labour-in-india">No easy answers for ending forced labour in India</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/anannya-bhattacharjee/portrait-of-indian-labour-activist">Portrait of an Indian labour activist</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/neil-howard-mohan-mani/collective-bargaining-in-globalised-south">Collective bargaining in the Global(ised) South</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/igor-bosc/round-about-solutions-to-forced-labour-don-t-work">Why roundabout solutions to forced labour don’t work</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alf-gunvald-nilsen/adivasis-in-india-modernday-slaves-or-modernday-workers">Adivasis in India: modern-day slaves or modern-day workers?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Prabha Kotiswaran Tue, 20 Mar 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Prabha Kotiswaran 116745 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Waves of suffocation: two years of the EU-Turkey deal https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jenny-kali/waves-of-suffocation-two-years-of-eu-turkey-deal <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Two years ago Chios transformed from a waypoint into a detention centre. A local resident asks, was stripping the island of its humanity worth it?&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Kali1.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">A refugee on Chios, March 2018. Photo by Mustafa Jado. All rights reserved.</p> <p>Whenever I pass by Chios city hall by car, I instinctively turn my head towards it. I had no reason to do so before, as it’s an ugly two-storey building near the city square. But for the last two years, especially after March 2016, there are always lots of refugees sitting on the pavement in front of the building. They are holding their cell phones trying to find a wi-fi connection. Cold or rain, they are always there in the dark, heads often covered in their hoods, knees close to their chests. </p> <p>Things were easy for both the islanders and the refugees before 20 March 2016. People arrived on dinghies from the Turkish coast. They stayed for one or two weeks and then moved on to the mainland to continue their journey to Europe. With more and more people arriving in Autumn 2015, we organised a camp in the city’s public garden. Forty volunteers, with the support of the people of Chios, set up a camp that hosted hundreds of refugees every day. We prepared lists with the necessary things such as milk, diapers, or water and the next day locals came and gave everything we had asked for. Some people were cooking; others were preparing milk for the kids or distributing clothes. It was solidarity in action. It was solidarity in its purest form. </p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Kali2.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Souda refugee camp, Chios (June 2017). Photo by Ludek Stavinoha. All rights reserved.</p> <p>A few weeks after the EU-Turkey deal everything changed. Chios was transformed into Europe’s prison, a barbed wire fence. The refugees had to deal with the long entrapment while waiting for the outcome of their asylum claim. </p> <p>Souda was the first big camp in the city centre. The conditions inside the camp were horrible. People suffered from extreme cold or heat, the toilets were inadequate and filthy, there were frequent electricity black outs. The camp was meant to host people for a few weeks but now, because of the deal, there was the need for more permanent accommodation. As time went by and the winter approached we witnessed people who used every possible way to keep warm and cook food. People made improvised stoves and fires with of wood taken from the nearby fields. I remember trying to support young boys who had no other way to react to this imprisonment but to cut themselves or try to commit suicide. </p> <p>Desperate people, suffocating people, people on the run. </p> <p>Soon we had the first organised gangs inside the camps. More than 30 different nationalities and cultures living together under such conditions led some of them to express their frustration against each other. Souda was put on fire twice. Fights with the police were a common phenomenon. There were scenes of madness as the owner of a nearby tavern shot with his gun in the air to stop the refugees from running inside. </p> <div style="width:230px;float:right;padding-left:10px;"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Kali3.jpg" width="230" /><br /><span class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Souda camp, Chios (January 2017). Photo by Ludek Stavinoha. All rights reserved.</span></div> <p>And then the deportations started. The police made organised raids into the camps and checked people’s papers again and again. No papers or two negative answers from the asylum authorities meant imprisonment and deportation to Turkey. I will never forget Yasi from Morocco. I saw the policemen dragging him, hands tied at the back. I went to the police car to tell him that I will visit him in prison. I did. And he asked me for cigarettes. I went back the next day. But he was not there any more.</p> <p>The greatest loss for the island was stripping the Greek people from their humanism and the appearance of deepest feelings that stem from fear. The fear of the unknown which led them to turn against the victims and not the victimisers. The refugees were no longer perceived as people fleeing war, poverty and hardships. Now they were violent, vicious beings with the ultimate goal of taking advantage of the locals. Incidents of violence against the refugees took place more frequently with the ‘birth’ of fascists and racists on the island. The rage of the locals was also turned against the solidarians, including myself, who fought daily to support the refugees.</p> <p>I sometimes wonder if Europe’s political leaders really care about the impact of their decisions on ordinary people. European governments have sacrificed thousands of refugees’ lives and Chios’ welfare on the altar of the horrendous EU-Turkey deal. A deal that does not resolve the problem but squeezes it elsewhere.</p> <p>So whenever I pass by the city hall my eyes and soul turn towards them. Hidden in the dark, trying to make their presence as discreet as possible. But I know that they are there and I feel all the waves of desperation and suffocation they send.</p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/vicki-squire/i-never-thought-to-come-in-europe-unpacking-myths-of-europe-s-migration-c">“I never thought to come in Europe”: unpacking the myths of Europe’s ‘migration crisis’</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/ludek-stavinoha-vanessa-marjoribanks/send-us-to-moon">Send us to the moon</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alex-fusco/portrait-of-greek-refugee-camp">Portrait of a Greek refugee camp</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/frances-grahl/at-crossroads-homeless-and-undocumented-people-in-paris">At the crossroads: homeless and undocumented people in Paris since the Calais evictions</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-europe-make-it/john-mark-philo/refugee-camps-of-chios-greeces-ongoing-refugee-crisis">The migrant camps of Chios: Greece&#039;s ongoing refugee crisis</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/sofiane-ait-chalalet-chris-jones/revealing-truths-talking-with-refugees-in-samos">Revealing truths: talking with refugees in Samos</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Jenny Kali Tue, 20 Mar 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Jenny Kali 116740 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The draft global compact on migration fails one of its guiding principles. Here is how to fix it. https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rebecca-balis/draft-global-compact-on-migration-fails-one-of-its-guiding-principles-he <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>As delegates begin to debate Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, they must be careful not to undermine already existing rights.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/3311542781_6175233576_o.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">UN Photo/Joao Araujo Pinto/Flickr. <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/un_photo/3311542781/in/photolist-63Cwic-63CvyV-aRTTor-ftSATi-984pkE-8aUzo8-7dyQRC-8cC6Z3-WfpTkd-VB8fMv-WQKA2B-WzF3T9-VyxF73-97qNBx-TnevBG-5BrA6A-99VR9X-Y6Xje7-LScVu4-8YgPN7-cEdSGo-345gFK-fFwC28-QxzAf-7Ea7Xr-9xatuY-4EDtQp-b4Mkip-dGJLGV-dGQcxb-Gwvg5-kY8Kq-GwzD8-VB7WCp-WfpNQb-WM71Gd-pD92ZV-6yjoRi-VTA2NB-63GM5U-aCWvb6-pN1q8K-rQw4yR-TnewbC-SQRQQu-aC9RBe-fN3Aw3-oNEscg-ayVy69-7SmDiq">CC (by-nc-nd)</a></p> <p>Released 5 February, and with the first round of state commentaries having already taken place, the Zero Draft of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM) started off strong. It claims to be “guided by human rights law and standards” and cites human rights treaties in the preamble. It further highlights migration’s impact on the sustainable development goals (SDGs), which themselves necessitate adherence to the human rights. The Zero Draft recognises that global discussions on migration are not new, and it aspires to be, as its first guiding principle proclaims, people-centred. Delegates begin discussions on the draft today, 12 March, and so it is an important time to point out that the zero draft fails in that goal.</p> <p>In all of its 22 objectives and their related actions, there is no explicit mention of protecting the basic rights of all migrants, regardless of status. This is true even for those rights stated in international law and the SDGs, and those being discussed within states, regionally, and in international migration management agreements. This is a missed opportunity. </p> <p>In revising the Zero Draft, states should both innovate and restate the currently disaggregated legal obligations for migrants in one place. In particular, for migrants not included in the Refugee Convention, the GCM is the place to articulate that all migrants have rights. This would implement the people-centred and therefore human-rights based approach that states seem keen to create. At this urgent moment for migrants around the world, states should go further in the GCM by adding this overall objective. This would centre the implementation of all other objectives on international legal obligations to migrants.</p> <p><strong>“All migrants, regardless of status, are holders of certain rights. States agree to ensure full responsibility and protection of their human rights and fundamental freedoms as exist in international law.”</strong></p> <p>This text likely looks familiar – the New York Declaration already recognised that all migrants are holders of certain rights.<sup><a id="ffn1" href="#fn1" class="footnote">1</a></sup> States already agreed to this language in the New York Declaration.<sup><a id="ffn2" href="#fn2" class="footnote">2</a></sup> Doing so was not revolutionary. The law already exists – just in disaggregated form. Thus, in defining the specific law pertaining to all migrants, states do not have to start from scratch. They should use the <a href="http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/centers-institutes/isim/imbr/index.cfm">International Migrants Bill of Rights</a> (IMBR) – a restatement of existing legal obligations pertaining to the human rights of migrants – as a baseline. </p> <p>The draft GCM does articulate some key rights in the guiding principles, including: providing legal identity to migrants (Objective 4), strengthening procedures for status determination (Objective 12), using migrant detention only as a last resort (Objective 13), and eliminating all forms of discrimination (Objective 17). </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">But by failing to comprehensively restate existing law, states risk diminishing the pre-existing standards to which states already must abide.</p> <p>But by failing to comprehensively restate existing law, states risk diminishing the pre-existing standards to which states already must abide. In adding an overall human rights objective, UN member states would therefore be merely reaffirming their own compliance with pre-existing international law, and ensure that all other states commit to the same obligations.<br/>Within this overall human rights objective, sub-objectives should include at least each of the following references to international law. By including these legal standards in the GCM, they would pertain to all migrants, and to migrants in all locations, whether in the host state or transit state, as stated in the New York Declaration.<sup><a id="ffn3" href="#fn3" class="footnote">3</a></sup> </br/></p> <p>The following ten references is not meant to be a comprehensive articulation of all rights implicated by the GCM, or those rights migrants possess under international law. They are, however, key rights that are currently left out of the GCM but exist in international law. They must be incorporated to ensure ongoing adherence to the law. </p> <p>Additional details and citations to sources of law can be found in the <a href="http://www.law.georgetown.edu/academics/centers-institutes/isim/imbr/imbr-tools/upload/04-IMBR-with-Commentary.pdf">full text of the IMBR and its legal commentaries</a>. </p> <h2>Essential law to incorporate into the GCM</h2> <ol> <li><strong>Right against expulsion and <em>nonrefoulement</em><sup><a id="ffn4" href="#fn4" class="footnote">4</a></sup></strong>: This non-derogable norm includes the right against collective expulsion or any kind of discriminatory or arbitrary expulsion or deportation, including chain <em>refoulement</em>;<sup><a id="ffn5" href="#fn5" class="footnote">5</a></sup> this right applies to all migrants, and includes asylum seekers, those at risk of torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, denial of the right to life, or other deprivations of human rights.<sup><a id="ffn6" href="#fn6" class="footnote">6</a></sup> Migrants have a right to a remedy if this right is violated.<sup><a id="ffn7" href="#fn7" class="footnote">7</a></sup> This right should incorporate minimum standards for procedural safeguards to protect against expulsion and <em>refoulement.</em><sup><a id="ffn8" href="#fn8" class="footnote">8</a></sup></li> <li><strong> Right to be free from disproportionate penalties on account of status.</strong> States should decriminalise entry, which criminalises migration itself.<sup><a id="ffn9" href="#fn9" class="footnote">9</a></sup> This is not tenable if states seek to control and benefit from migration, rather than to eliminate it.</li> <li><strong> Right to due process</strong>: including in criminal prosecution,<sup><a id="ffn10" href="#fn10" class="footnote">10</a></sup> and including the right to interpretation<sup><a id="ffn11" href="#fn11" class="footnote">11</a></sup> and to be informed of this right.<sup><a id="ffn12" href="#fn12" class="footnote">12</a></sup> </li> <li><strong>Rights of victims of crime</strong>: migrants are frequently abused in transit and in host states.<sup><a id="ffn13" href="#fn13" class="footnote">13</a></sup> States may regulate smuggling and trafficking through the exercise of the penal law, but must simultaneously ensure victims are protected. Accountability mechanisms on human rights violations should ensure migrants’ fundamental rights are respected.</li> <li><strong>Right to health</strong>: migrants must have access to enjoy the highest attainable standard of health care that is available, accessible, acceptable, and of appropriate and good quality.<sup><a id="ffn14" href="#fn14" class="footnote">14</a></sup></li> <li><strong> Right to education</strong>: all migrant children should have the right to enjoy education, and thrive regardless of their migration status, including irregular status.<sup><a id="ffn15" href="#fn15" class="footnote">15</a></sup></li> <li><strong> Rights of freedom of opinion and expression.</strong></li> <li><strong> Right to freedom of assembly and association</strong>.<sup><a id="ffn16" href="#fn16" class="footnote">16</a></sup></li> <li><strong> Right to be free and equal in dignity and rights</strong>: the right to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion or belief,<sup><a id="ffn17" href="#fn17" class="footnote">17</a></sup> and to enjoy the migrant’s own cultures,<sup><a id="ffn18" href="#fn18" class="footnote">18</a></sup> including use of the migrant’s own languages.<sup><a id="ffn19" href="#fn19" class="footnote">19</a></sup></li> <li><strong>Right to family unity</strong>: migration policies cannot result in the separation of families, create undue burdens on families, or do harm by separating children from their families. Family unity should be at the forefront of all migration policies, and when families are separated prior to or during migration, all migrants retain the right to family reunification.<sup><a id="ffn20" href="#fn20" class="footnote">20</a></sup></li> </ol> <p>After the GCM is adopted, states will determine how to integrate it into national legislation and planning. The compact will not be a ‘one size fits all model’, but states will design and adopt policies to implement their commitments. The implementation phase will require indicators and evaluation of states’ adherence to these relevant legal obligations. In defining indicators, states and localities can draw upon the IMBR set of compliance indicators and implement the IMBR questionnaire, currently tested in 13 contexts.</p> <p>To achieve the initial guiding principles of the GCM and resist watering down international law, states should include these existing laws affirmatively in the GCM, utilising the IMBR commentaries to support an explicit restatement of these rights. </p> <ol id="footnotes"> <li id="fn1"><a href="http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/migration/generalassembly/docs/A_RES_71_1_E.pdf">G.A. Res. 71/1, U.N. Doc. A/RES71/1</a>, (Sept. 19, 2016). [hereinafter New York Declaration/NY Decl.]. ¶ 26. <a href="#ffn1">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn2">NY Decl. ¶ 22. <a href="#ffn2">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn3">NY Decl. ¶ 2.5 <a href="#ffn3">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn4">Article 13 of the IMBR understands the country of return to designate not only the country to which removal is to be effected directly, but also any other country to which the migrant may be removed afterwards <a href="#ffn4">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn5">IMBR Art 11(1); ICRMW art. 22(1); Protocol No. 4 to the ECHR; ACHR art. 22(9); ACHPR art. 12. <a href="#ffn5">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn6">IMBR Art 13; <a href="#ffn6">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn7">IMBR Art 11(2); UDHR, <em>supra</em> note 1, art. 8; ICCPR, <em>supra</em> note 2, art. 2; CAT, <em>supra</em> note 5, art. 14; ICERD, <em>supra</em> note 4, art. 6; CRC, <em>supra</em> note 6, art. 39. See also <em>UN Basic Principles and Guidelines on the right to a remedy and reparation for victims of gross violations of international human rights law and serious violation</em>; IMBR Art 11(3); ICRMW art. 22(4). <a href="#ffn7">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn8">IMBR Art 12(2). <a href="#ffn8">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn9">IMBR Art 6(2); IMBR Art 9; Of particular concern is administrative detention of migrants, the increasing use of criminal sanctions as a policy response to increases in migration, and State responses to terrorism; Protection of Migrants, U.N. GAOR, 63d Sess., 70th plen. mtg., U.N. Doc. A/RES/63/184 (Mar. 17, 2009). <a href="#ffn9">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn10">IMBR Art. 9(2); ICCPR art. 13; ECHR Protocol 7; OAS Charter art. 45; Inter-Am. Comm’n on Human Rights, _Access to Justice as a Guarantee of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Review of the Standards Adopted by the Inter-Am. System of Human Rights&nbsp;_47 (2007) ¶ 182, OEA/Ser.L./V/II.129 doc. 4. <a href="#ffn10">&#8617;</a></li> <li id="fn11">IMBR art. 9(3); ICCPR art. 14(a)(f). <a href="#ffn11">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn12">IMBR art 9(4). <a href="#ffn12">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn13">IMBR art. 10(1). his right is most strongly recognised in instruments addressing trafficking in persons, including the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children (Palermo Protocol) attached to the UN Convention Against Organized Crime, and the Council of Europe Convention on Action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. Council of Europe Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, May 16, 2005, C.E.T.S. No. 197. <a href="#ffn13">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn14">IMBR Art 21; ICESCR Gen. Com. 14, <em>supra</em> note 380, at para 12; UDHR art. 25; ICESR art. 12. <a href="#ffn14">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn15">IMBR Art 22; UDHR art. 26; ICESR art. 13; CEDAW art. 10; CRC art. 28. <a href="#ffn15">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn16">IMBR Art. 17; UDHR art. 19; ICCPR art. 19; ICMRW art. 13. <a href="#ffn16">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn17">IMBR Art 16; ICCPR Art. 4.2, 18; UDHR Art. 18. <a href="#ffn17">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn18">IMBR Art 23. <a href="#ffn18">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn19">IMBR Art 23(1); UDHR Art. 27, ICCPR Art. 27. <a href="#ffn19">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> <li id="fn20">NY Decl. ¶4.16. <a href="#ffn20">&#x21A9;&#xFE0E;</a></li> </ol> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div style="font-size:90%"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/cameron-thibos-stacy-topouzova/global-compacts-detention-centres-and-safe-passage-can-">Global compacts, detention centres, and safe passage: can the world change course on migration?</a><br />CAMERON THIBOS<br />STACY TOPOUZOVA <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/sarnata-reynolds/interview-making-global-compacts-on-migrants-and-refugees-worthwhile">Interview: making the global compacts on migrants and refugees worthwhile</a><br />SARNATA REYNOLDS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-michele-klein-solomon/interview-is-rights-based-good-migration-governan">Interview: is rights-based ‘good migration governance’ possible?</a><br />MICHELE KLEIN SOLOMON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-ben-lewis/interview-detention-as-new-migration-managem">Interview: detention as the new migration management?</a><br />BEN LEWIS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/daniela-reale-ignacio-packer/what-we-want-for-children-in-global-compacts-on-refugees-">What we want for children in the global compacts on refugees and migrants</a><br />DANIELA REALE<br />IGNACIO PACKER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/leeanne-torpey-daniela-reale/time-for-clear-roadmap-for-states-to-end-child-immigratio">Time for a clear roadmap for states to end child immigration detention</a><br />LEEANNE TORPEY<br />DANIELA REALE<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-jenna-holliday/interview-dangerous-invisibility-of-women-migrants">Interview: the dangerous invisibility of women migrants</a><br />JENNA HOLLIDAY<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/alex-bellamy/safe-passage-integral-component-of-responsibility-to-protect">The responsibility to protect</a><br />ALEX BELLAMY<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/rebecca-brubaker-nina-hall/gaps-in-global-advocacy-for-protection-of-migrants-rights">Gaps in global advocacy for the protection of migrants’ rights</a><br />REBECCA BRUBAKER<br />NINA HALL<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/safepassages/cameron-thibos-catherine-tactaquin/interview-how-can-better-policy-empower-women-on-mo">Interview: how can better policy empower women on the move?</a><br />CATHERINE TACTAQUIN<hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyond-slavery/safepassages/c-cile-riallant-cameron-thibos/interview-why-do-we-think-development-">Interview: why do we think development will stop migration?</a><br />CÉCILE RIALLANT<hr /> </div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div style="font-size:90%;"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/camilla-barretto-maia-diego-morales-raisa-ortiz-cetra/global-compact-for-migration-stop-hypocrisy-an">Global Compact for Migration: stop the hypocrisy and listen to the Global South</a><br /> CAMILA BARRETTO MAIA, DIEGO MORALES, and RAISA ORTIZ CETRA <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julia-o%E2%80%99connell-davidson-neil-howard/on-freedom-and-immobility-how-states-create-vulne">On freedom and (im)mobility: how states create vulnerability by controlling human movement</a><br /> JULIA O&#8217;CONNELL DAVIDSON<br />NEIL HOWARD <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/harald-bauder/illegalised-migrants-and-temporary-foreign-workers-new-international-seg">Illegalised migrants and temporary foreign workers: the new international segmentation of labour</a><br /> HARALD BAUDER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/nicholas-de-genova/border-spectacle-of-migrant-%E2%80%98victimisation%E2%80%99">The border spectacle of migrant ‘victimisation’</a> NICHOLAS DE GENOVA <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antoine-p%C3%A9coud/thinking-about-open-borders">Thinking about open borders</a><br /> ANTOINE PÉCOUD <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joseph-h-carens/case-for-open-borders">The case for open borders</a><br /> JOSEPH H. CARENS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antoine-p-coud/un-convention-on-migrant-workers-rights-at-25">The UN Convention on Migrant Workers’ Rights at 25</a><br /> ANTOINE PÉCOUD <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julia-oconnell-davidson/let-us-live-or-make-us-die-migrants-challenge-to-their-outlawr">“Let us live or make us die!” Migrants’ challenge to their outlawry</a><br /> JULIA O&#8217;CONNELL DAVIDSON <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/jane-freedman/who%E2%80%99s-responsible-for-violence-against-migrant-women">Who’s responsible for violence against migrant women?</a><br /> JANE FREEDMAN <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sine-plambech/becky-is-dead">Becky is dead</a><br /> SINE PLAMBECH <hr /> </div> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope"><img style="padding-top: 10px;" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/MJIH-icon-140%402x.png" alt="" width="100%" /></a> <div style="font-size:90%;"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/ludek-stavinoha-vanessa-marjoribanks/send-us-to-moon">Send us to the moon</a><br /> LUDEK STAVINOHA &amp; VANESSA MARJORIBANKS <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/meltem-ineli-ciger/how-well-protected-are-syrians-in-turkey">How well protected are Syrians in Turkey?</a><br /> MELTEM INELI-CIGER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/leonie-ansems-de-vries-marta-welander/refugees-displacement-and-europ">Refugees, displacement, and the European ‘politics of exhaustion’</a><br /> LEONIE ANSEMS DE VRIES and MARTA WELANDER <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-patrick-taran/myths-of-migration">The myths of migration</a><br /> PATRICK TARAN <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/bue-r-bner-hansen-cameron-thibos/welcoming-refugees-despite-state">Welcoming refugees despite the state</a><br /> BUE RÜBNER HANSEN <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/cameron-thibos-anna-terr-n-cus/toward-more-humane-european-asylum-sys">Toward a more reasonable European asylum system</a><br /> ANNA TERRÓN CUSÍ <hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/mediterranean-journeys-in-hope/david-charles/on-walls-of-zollamtsstrasse-refugee-camp">On the walls of Zollamtsstrasse refugee camp</a><br /> DAVID CHARLES <hr /> </div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Rebecca Balis Searching for safe passage Mon, 12 Mar 2018 10:32:51 +0000 Rebecca Balis 116621 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Why boycott Wendy’s? Ask women farmworkers. https://www.opendemocracy.net/penelope-kyritsis/why-boycott-wendy-s-ask-women-farmworkers <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The time is up for corporate leaders who turn a blind eye to gender-based violence and labour abuses in their supply chain.&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/26798045059_a93d71dcac_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Coaltion of Immokalee Workers'&nbsp;"Harvest without Violence" march in NYC on 20 November 2017.&nbsp;Working Families Party/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p dir="ltr">From 11 to 15 March, Florida farmworkers from the <a href="http://ciw-online.org/">Coalition of Immokalee Workers</a> (CIW) and their allies will hold a five-day <a href="http://www.boycott-wendys.org/why-we-fast/">Freedom Fast</a> outside the Manhattan office of Nelson Peltz, Wendy’s largest shareholder and chair of its board of directors. They will demand that Wendy’s joins other fast food chains in supporting the <a href="http://www.fairfoodprogram.org/">Fair Food Program</a>, a CIW initiative that has substantially improved the conditions of many women farmworkers by directly confronting the issue of gender-based violence (GBV) in the fields. The fast will culminate with a massive <a href="https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeubUGkm1eBizCrS8eVcyHjoL49zMLQ9R_01enp0LlwgwK5vQ/viewform">Time’s Up Wendy’s March</a> on 15 March to further highlight the ongoing presence of GBV in the US agricultural sector.</p><p dir="ltr">Women working in low-wage sectors and women of color are <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/sarah-newell/in-lieu-of-silver-bullet-metoo-in-global-workplace">especially vulnerable to GBV</a> in the world of work. The male-dominated agricultural sector in the United States – where severe violations such as sexual violence, abuse, and harassment are endemic – is among the most salient examples. According to recent <a href="https://wsr-network.org/resource/now-the-fear-is-gone/">report</a> by the <a href="https://wsr-network.org/">Worker-Driven Social Responsibility Network</a>, over 80% of women farmworkers experience sexual abuse and harassment, with “assault and the most extreme forms of harassment [being] so common that many women consider it unavoidable”.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">The women farmworkers of Immokalee had their version of the #MeToo moment a while ago.</p><p dir="ltr">That has, ever so slowly, started to change. The women farmworkers of Immokalee had their version of the #MeToo moment a while ago, and it resulted in a powerful solution for addressing GBV in the fields: the Fair Food Program. First piloted in 2011, the Fair Food Program has pioneered a unique model of farm governance that seeks to ensure that working conditions for farmworkers remain humane and free of sexual and gender-based abuse. The Program consists of wage increases supported by a price premium paid by corporate purchasers of Florida tomatoes, and a human-rights-based Code of Conduct. Ongoing in-depth farm audits – which typically include interviews <a href="http://fairfoodstandards.org/cms/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/14SOTP-Web.pdf">with over half a company’s workforce</a> – are conducted to ensure compliance with the Program.</p><h2>Putting workers ‘at the head of the table’</h2><p dir="ltr">Hailed as “the best workplace-monitoring program” in the US by the <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/25/business/in-florida-tomato-fields-a-penny-buys-progress.html">New York Times</a>, the Fair Food Program flips traditional corporate monitoring initiatives – where the firm maintains control of the process –&nbsp;on their head and allows workers to take the lead in protecting themselves. It is a unique partnership among farmers, farmworkers, and retail food companies, and constitutes a leading example of worker-driven social responsibility. As the CIW describes it, under the Fair Food Program, &nbsp;”<a href="http://ciw-online.org/blog/2014/06/wsr/">workers are not just at the table, they are at the head of the table</a>”.</p><p dir="ltr">The Fair Food Program has had an immensely positive effect for farmworkers both inside and outside the Immokalee region of southern Florida, and uptake has been especially strong among American tomato farmers on the Eastern seaboard. “Before [the program]”, says Lupe Gonzalo, a senior staff member at CIW and former migrant farmworker, “we were resigned to the thought that there was no efficient solution to address abuse in the workplace”. But since the program’s inception, over <a href="http://www.fairfoodprogram.org/results/">1800 worker complaints have been resolved and over $25 million have been paid in fair food premiums</a> to farm payrolls. And, according to the CIW, sexual harassment and assault <a href="http://www.boycott-wendys.org/harvestwithoutviolence/">have been virtually eliminated on participating farms</a>.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;</p><h2>Fleeing from responsibility</h2><p dir="ltr">Fourteen of the world’s major food retailers, including McDonald’s and Taco Bell, have by now agreed to end purchases from growers who do not respect the program’s code of conduct. Wendy’s, however, continues withhold its support, and in a recent statement argued they do not believe that “<a href="http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/orange/os-colonial-drive-wendys-protest-20170806-story.html">joining the Fair Food Program is the only way to act responsibly</a>”.</p><p dir="ltr">CIW began an official boycott of Wendy’s in 2013. Two years later it named the the world’s third largest fast food hamburger chain a “<a href="http://ciw-online.org/blog/2015/03/wendys-running-responsibility/">fugitive from farmworker justice</a>” in response to the company’s 2015 decision to relocate its tomato sourcing operations to Mexico rather than to confront GBV at home. Since then, the CIW has sought new ways to pile on the pressure, with the Freedom Fast this month being only the latest example.</p><p dir="ltr">“As long as the conditions in Mexico don’t change, corporations shouldn’t do business there”, Gonzalo said. “When companies are willing to overlook these abuses, the industry has no incentive to change”. This is the sentiment animating the Freedom Fast and Time’s Up Wendy’s March next week. This direct action is happening at a time where calls for greater accountability and transparency for workers in supply chains are on the rise, and not just in the agricultural industry.</p><h2>The case for letting the workers lead</h2><p dir="ltr">Worker-driven social responsibility stands in stark contrast to the more traditional social responsibility programs lead by corporations. &nbsp;These voluntary initiatives have repeatedly proven to be <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/can-world-end-forced-labour-by-2030">ineffective at best</a>, and have been been routinely criticised for <a href="http://ciw-online.org/blog/2014/06/wsr/">doing more to protect the reputations</a> of corporations than to produce meaningful changes for workers.</p><p dir="ltr">This is largely because these voluntary schemes fail to address the <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-causes">root causes of labour abuse</a> – something that is central to the Fair Food Program. It is based on the premise that GBV and other labour abuses don’t happen in isolation; rather, they occur at the intersection of <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2">systemic discrimination</a>; <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8">governance gaps</a> surrounding labour (including the under-enforcement of labour standards and weak legislative instruments); and a general <a href="https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/14747731.2014.932507">reluctance to challenge the private sector and powerful corporations</a>.</p><p class="mag-quote-center" dir="ltr">Gender-based violence and other labour abuses don’t happen in isolation.</p><p dir="ltr">Farmworkers pioneered the Fair Food Program in <a href="http://ciw-online.org/blog/2018/02/an-open-letter/">one of the harshest working environments </a>in the US to provide a powerful alternative to the status quo – one that actually challenges the economic structures that make farmworkers vulnerable to labour abuses and GBV in the first place. Fortunately, this model is not limited to the tomato industry; other success stories include the garment sector in Bangladesh with the <a href="https://wsr-network.org/success-stories/accord-on-fire-and-building-safety-in-bangladesh/">Accord on Fire and Building Safety</a>, as well as the <a href="https://wsr-network.org/success-stories/milk-with-dignity/">Milk with Dignity </a>program in Vermont.</p><p dir="ltr">With the Freedom Fast and the Time’s Up Wendy’s March, the farmworkers from Immokalee are sending a strong message to corporate leaders who place profit above their lives and safety. </p><p><em>Want to join the movement? You can register for the Freedom Fast and/or the Time's Up Wendy's March <a href="http://www.boycott-wendys.org/register-fast/">here</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/DVMzHvzW0AI9mIt.png" alt="" width="100%" /></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/latisa-kindred/weareoutihicks-fight-to-end-gender-based-violence-in-construction-secto">#WeAreOutiHicks: the fight to end gender-based violence in the construction sector</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-ram-n-torres/they-came-into-showers-why-we-formed-independent-farm-w">Why we formed an independent farm workers union</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-iris-mungu/gender-based-violence-in-central-american-agricultural-in">Gender-based violence in the Central American agricultural industry</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/judy-gearhart-penelope-kyritsis/gender-based-violence-at-work-when-boss-is-threat">Gender-based violence at work: when the boss is the threat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-cassandra-waters/protection-lotto-against-gender-based-violence-in-u">The protection lotto against gender-based violence in the US</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sarah-newell/in-lieu-of-silver-bullet-metoo-in-global-workplace">In lieu of a silver bullet: #metoo in the global workplace</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/can-world-end-forced-labour-by-2030">Can the world end forced labour by 2030?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-2">Confronting the root causes of forced labour: identity and discrimination</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron-neil-howard-cameron-thibos-penelope-kyritsis/confronting-root-caus-8">Confronting the root causes of forced labour: governance gaps</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/genevieve-lebaron/confronting-root-causes-of-forced-labour-where-do-we-go-from-here-0">Confronting the root causes of forced labour: where do we go from here?</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Penelope Kyritsis Thu, 08 Mar 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Penelope Kyritsis 116528 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Hard choices are made when arranged marriages collide with a slave past.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/DSC03928_960.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Photo by author. All rights reserved.</p> <p>It is early morning. Demba is driving Mamadou, Ndilla and me towards the Senegalese town of Velingara, on the eastern side of the Kolda region. All of a sudden, Ndilla cries “the <em>jiyaabe</em>!” and points to a troop of Guinean baboons that has appeared in the fields beside the road. A small joke, as Fulfulde, the majority language for this part of Senegal, uses the expression ‘black monkeys’ (<em>baadi mbaaleji</em>) to talk of that part of the population consisting of <em>jiyaabe</em> (sing. <em>jiyaado</em>): people of alleged slave ancestry. Baboons are black, big and sturdy: these three qualities are stereotypically associated with slaves in Fulbe communities throughout West Africa. In contrast ‘red monkeys’ (<em>baadi mboodeji</em>) attaches to the <em>rimbe</em> (sing. <em>dimo</em>), people like Demba, Mamadou and Ndilla who are of free (or noble) ancestry. In addition to be smaller and leaner than baboons, ‘red monkeys’, which are actually green monkeys, sport a clear and red-flashed fur. </p> <p>Ndilla called my attention to the baboons beside our car because the oral history we have been collecting in the Kolda region uses the metaphor of the ‘black’ and the ‘red’ monkeys to describe regional political conflicts, as well as <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/legacies-of-slavery-in-southern-senegal">collaborations between the <em>jiyaabe</em> and the <em>rimbe</em></a> that have taken place since the second half of the nineteenth century. In popular wisdom, the physical signs of <em>rimbe</em> ancestry include long limbs, light-coloured skin, and curly, soft hair, which men and women of past generations styled in braids. The marker of the <em>jiyaabe</em> is blackness, although there are dark <em>rimbe</em> and light skinned <em>jiyaabe</em>. Stereotypes address also intellectual and moral qualities. “People look at the intelligence” remarked Ismailou, another of my <em>rimbe</em> friends. “The <em>rimbe</em> tend to consider their own children brighter than the <em>jiyaabe</em>’s ones.” </p> <h2>Racism in Senegal?</h2> <p>Is the metaphor of the black and red monkeys a clue to undergoing racial arguments? Government, media and public opinion confine racism to the lives and experiences of Senegalese abroad (either in the colonial homeland of France, or in the many destinations of the <a href="http://www.seneweb.com/news/Immigration/racisme-regardez-comment-la-presence-des_n_147251.html">Senegalese diaspora</a>), while Muslim piety and republicanism underplay internal discriminations. All men are equal before God, and the <a href="https://www.constituteproject.org/constitution/Senegal_2009.pdf">constitution</a> assures “equality before the law of all citizens, regardless of origin, race, sex, religion” (Article 1). “There is in Senegal no constraint or privilege arising from birth, from person or from family” (Article 7). For historian Ibrahima Thioub, however, nineteenth century internal slavery and the slave trade bequeathed an <a href="https://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00743503">ideology of genealogical purity</a> to contemporary Senegalese society. </p> <p>When the <em>jiyaabe</em> are not around, the <em>rimbe</em> of the Kolda region are happy to detail their old stereotypes about the slave. Purportedly, the <em>jiyaabe</em> lack shame and moral control, and have limited capacities of social and economic organisation. “During the rainy season”, Ndilla tutored me, “the <em>jiyaabe</em> easily run out of food. You see them going to the <em>rimbe</em>’s villages in search of rice and millet to feed their families.” It is a winning game: although economically distressed as well, the <em>rimbe</em> would prefer to starve than to admit they have no rice, millet or milk to share.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">The <em>jiyaabe</em> make little secret of their contempt for <em>rimbe</em> pretentions to social superiority.</p> <p>The <em>jiyaabe</em>, in turn, depict the <em>rimbe</em> as arrogant, cunning and malicious, and unfit for harsh agricultural labour. They also make little secret of their contempt for <em>rimbe</em> pretentions to social superiority. The day we visited Ibrahima, a returnee from Spain whose grandfather served as <em>jiyaado</em>, he looked Ndilla and Mamadou straight in the eye before joking that “a <em>pullo</em> without cows is a <em>jahanka</em>”.</p> <p>It’s a complicated joke to translate and requires some explanation. <em>Pullo</em> is equivalent to <em>dimo</em>, while <em>jahanka</em> are a regional minority ethnic group. Rearing cattle is quintessential to the <em>rimbe</em> tradition, but not all <em>rimbe</em> have cattle today. Ndilla’s father lost his herd, and Mamadou has but few heads. Ibrahima, in contrast, is the descendant of slaves yet built his own herd thanks to migration. His reference to Ndilla’s and Mamadou’s social debasement was evident. Are you a <em>pullo</em> because of your ancestors, he challenged them to answer, or because of your personal qualities and economic capital?</p> <h2>Demba’s marriage story</h2> <p>In terms of social reproduction, <em>rimbe</em> families have always been very selective. The reckless behaviour of the father constrains the marriage opportunities of his children, their purity of origins notwithstanding. If a woman has a child out of marriage, potential in-laws will be sceptical of her brothers’ suitability as bridegrooms. When parents agree to the marriage of their children, the moral posture of the entire family is as important as wealth. Qualms extend to slave ancestry.</p> <p class="mag-quote-left">The reckless behaviour of the father constrains the marriage opportunities of his children</p> <p>In 2013, Demba felt in love with Bintou, a young girl from his same village. Bintou belonged to a <em>jiyaabe</em> family originally owned by Demba’s grandfather, the founder of the village. Demba was determined to follow his feelings, but his mother even more: the marriage was not to take place. Demba lacked an independent income and lived in his father’s large family entourage. The possibility of winning over his parents were naught, as nobody could force his mother to accept someone she deemed unsuitable. The two women, after all, would have to cohabitate. </p> <p>Eventually Bintou married a man of her same social background, and moved to a nearby settlement. Demba’s father selected the daughter of one of his best friends as a more appropriate wife for his son. He paid the proper bride-wealth in cattle, and Demba abided by his parents’ desires. It was a good match in terms of similar physical appearance and social origins – both the bride and the groom displayed the features and the fair colour of the <em>rimbe</em>. Unfortunately, the couple did not fit in terms of character and expectations. After one year, and a baby boy, everyone in the village knew that the couple quarrelled every other day. Rumours arose, especially among village youths, and in their eyes Demba’s arranged marriage demonstrated that elders needed to stop interfering in marital choices.</p> <p>Demba’s mother felt compelled to defend her course of action. She called Ndilla, one of the few educated bachelors of the village and most assuredly on the side of free choice in marriage.&nbsp; In a confidential manner, she recounted Bintou’s <em>jiyaabe</em> background and explained how Bintou’s grandfather had overstepped the boundaries of his servile position. He had also chosen to marry girls from other villages without the consent of their parents – a sure-fire way to bequeath an unhappy marital life to his offspring. Furthermore, the family’s economic situation was poor, as the wealth that Bintou’s grandfather had accumulated rapidly dissipated after his death. To her, these were reasons enough to justify preventing Demba from marrying his choice.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p><em>Rimbe</em> families of the Kolda region have tended to their genealogical ‘purity’ by favouring intra-lineage marriage or marriage with other <em>rimbe</em> lineages. The <em>jiyaabe</em>, as well, have developed their own marriage strategies. Dembayel, for example, is an elderly man of slave ancestry that helped Ndilla and me in the course of our research. He overtly declared the enslavement of his ancestors, and denounced the haughty attitude of the <em>rimbe</em>. When asked why the <em>jiyaabe</em> were so numerous in some parts of the Kolda region, he replied promptly: “because, we do not make marriage discriminations”.</p> <p>In order to increase their ranks, <em>jiyaabe</em> families have kept building alliances with people of their own background and members of ethnic groups historically subordinated to the Fulbe. They dislike their girls marrying <em>rimbe </em>men, knowing that their future in-laws will neither fully respect their wives nor her kin. When we asked Dembayel to comment upon the possibility of a marriage between a man of slave ancestry and a girl of high birth, he wondered about our sanity. How could the husband rule over his wife? Would she ever obey? For sure, the children of such a marriage would face the prospective of never been fully accepted by their <em>rimbe</em> grandparents, maternal uncles and cousins. Which man would bestow this future on his own offspring?</p> <p>Since the beginning of the 2000s, Senegalese social media have <a href="http://www.seneweb.com/news/Societe/les-castes-quand-la-tradition-rend-les-mariages-impossibles_n_44082.html">started to debate</a> individual rights to free marriage choice. They have also discussed the <a href="https://aeon.co/essays/how-descendants-of-african-slaves-are-stigmatised-for-life">stigma of slave ancestry</a>. In both urban and rural areas of the Kolda region, it is easy to bump into groups of youths that argue against arranged marriage, and old social boundaries. In practice, however, they tend to respect their family orientation, even if parents refrain from behaving like Demba’s mother. Filial piety is, after all, a major value.</p> <p>Although he knows that it already happened in his family, Ndilla cannot imagine marrying a girl of slave ancestry. It would be a daily struggle to defend his choice, at least among his rural relatives. So far, he is a bachelor because he longs for an educated wife, but none of his choices met his parents’ idea of a good wife. On the other hand, although of high lineage, all the girls they proposed were either illiterate or too young. “I cannot marry this kind of woman. Education will always be a boundary between us, and she will feel that the husband does not truly understand and love her”.</p> <blockquote> <p>This article builds on fieldwork in the Upper Casamance supported by the European Research Council under the European Union&#39;s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant agreement n° 313737: <em>Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond: A Historical Anthropology.</em></p> </blockquote> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Alice Bellagamba Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Fri, 16 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Alice Bellagamba 116030 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The UAE, like many other Arabian Gulf States, claims to be home to a homogenous Arab population. In doing so it assimilates rather than acknowledges the region’s slave past.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/17124805369_113c51e58e_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">'The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque's design and construction "unites the world", using artisans and materials from many countries including Italy, Germany, Morocco, Pakistan, Turkey, Malaysia, Iran, China, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Greece and United Arab Emirates. More than 3,000 workers and 38 renowned contracting companies took part in the construction of the mosque.'&nbsp;Andrew Moore/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC BY-SA 2.0)&nbsp;</a></span></p><p>A quick glance at the faces of Emirati citizens as I walked down in a busy shopping mall made me think I could easily be back in London. The only major outward difference was that all the locals were wearing the national dress, or rather what has become the national uniform: <a href="http://www.brismes.ac.uk/nmes/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/NMES2016AlMutawa.pdf">abaya and dishdasha</a>. A more important but less obvious difference, however, was that despite Dubai’s creole past and the ethnic, linguistic and racial diversities within the Dubaian Emiratis, Emirati national identity has been officially and popularly racialised as ‘Arab’ since the founding of the United Arab Emirates in 1971. </p> <p>With the aim of cultivating this presumed collective identity, the region’s and its inhabitants’ links to, and origins from, various parts of the Indian Ocean, Yemen, Baluchistan, Southern Persia, the Arabian Gulf, Zanzibar and other parts of Africa has been elided. Yet for Emirati citizens, there are many ‘clues’ to determine an Emirati’s ethnic, sectarian, cultural, linguistic, and geographical origins. These range from surname, accent, and dexterity in spoken Arabic to physical characteristics, such as skin colour and even “shape of eyebrows”, as I was told. For example, Emiratis associate white skin with Persian origin, and darker skin with those with <a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baloch_people_in_the_United_Arab_Emirates">Baloch</a> or Zanzibari origin, even though there are great phenotypical differences within these groups (i.e. <a href="https://ajammc.com/2012/06/20/the-afro-iranian-community-beyond-haji-firuz-blackface-slavery-bandari-music/">‘Afro-Iranians’</a>).</p> <p>However, one particular group, the Dubaians with slave ancestry, is surrounded by silence. Awareness of the region’s involvement in <a href="https://www.thenational.ae/world/slave-trade-brought-800-000-africans-to-the-gulf-1.181543">Indian Ocean slave trade</a> is made conspicuous by the absence of acknowledging any links that Emirati citizens may have to Africa and a slave past. Slavery was abolished in 1963 and in 1971 former slaves became Emirati citizens. While the official and popular discourses equate Emirati citizenship to national identity – i.e. all who hold Emirati citizenship are Arab – the limited power of citizenship to absorb ‘race’ and naturalise phenotypical differences becomes salient in informal everyday interactions within citizenry and intimate decisions such as marriage. &nbsp;</p> <p>Considering the sensitivity of this topic, I often started the discussions of race and national identity in reference to Western societies. Interestingly, Emiratis claimed that a straightforward equation of citizenship with national identity was based on a faulty premise, as they inherently signified different types of inclusion. For example, they argued, citizenship alone could not turn a black African into a French person or convert someone from India into a Brit. This is because Emiratis typically imagined <em>Frenchness/Britishness</em> as being premised on whiteness. A double standard applied, however, when they reflected on these discussions, in the context of the UAE.</p> <p>Mohammad, who is from a prominent Bedouin family says:</p> <blockquote> <p>“We do have darker skin here but we don’t perceive them as anything other than Emirati, they have been here for many years. Originally they are from Central Africa maybe or they don't even know where, you know we had some ... I don't want to say ‘<em>abid</em> (slave), but <em>khadim</em> (servant). There is no racism in our society like the West, because we have this concept – you can’t be Emirati without being Arab. I have a friend from African descent, he is 100% local. Talks with Bedouin accent. I can relate to him more than an <a href="http://sultanalqassemi.blogspot.co.uk/2009/02/ajamis-of-emirates-celebrated-history.html">Ajami</a> (Emirati with origins in Southern Persia). Maybe we will call him <em>khal</em> (black) to joke, but they don't find it offensive. It is not like ‘n*gga’ in America. We also call Zinjibaris (Zanzibaris) like that”.</p> </blockquote> <p>Echoing the official discourse, claims to national identity among the people I interviewed were predominantly articulated as having full citizenship rights, having long-standing roots in the region, and being culturally assimilated. These parameters formed the content of ‘Arabness’ as a collective national identity and enabled inclusion of racial differences. Yet, the shortcomings of such ‘inclusion’ became evident when individuals were occasionally identified as ‘real Arabs’ or ‘original Emiratis’ – signifiers of certain types of Arab and Bedouin pedigrees. Moreover, blackness still persists to identify ‘racial others’. Indeed, despite Mohammad suggesting otherwise, black Emiratis I spoke to – regardless of their origins, whether ethnic Arab returnees from Zanzibar or of slave origins – found <em>khal</em> (black) a derogatory term.</p> <p>Having said that, in comparison to other communities, <a href="http://portal.unesco.org/culture/fr/files/38499/122910030955.Afro-Emarati.pdf/5.Afro-Emarati.pdf">‘Afro-Emiratis’ is argued to have not developed as a racial minority.</a> This aligns in some ways with Mohammad’s suggestion that he has a closer alliance with ‘Afro-Emiratis’ than Ajams. The former group’s centuries-old dislocation from their ancestral homeland and their cultural assimilation into the families they served means that today they do not carry many residual expressions of a separate cultural identity (two exceptions would be <a href="https://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/dancers-to-the-music-of-time-the-nuban-1.385086">Nubian dance and Zar</a>). This is different from Ajami Emiratis, whose Persian roots can at times prove ‘problematic’, especially when tensions rise with Iran. Thus, ‘being Ajam’ is potentially more of a salient social boundary within the citizenry than being black, even though the former’s phenotypical difference is, as many Emiratis have implied, not as visible as that of the latter.</p> <h2>Indigenous by association</h2> <p>Emiratis with slave ancestry typically saw themselves not only as Arabs, but some also suggested that they were the ‘original’ inhabitants of the Emirates. This self-perception is in part due to the way slavery was practiced, and abolished, in this region of the world. Slaves were considered as members of the tribes and the families to which they were enslaved. After the abolishment of slavery, freed slaves were given the option to adopt the surname of the tribes they served. Many did, and this ‘opportunity’ to culturally and historically affiliate themselves with the Emirates and Bedouin identity has inevitably shaped their collective sense of selfhood and belonging. The way Moza, a black Emirati, identifies herself as a Bedouin illustrates this point.</p> <blockquote> <p>“My friends cannot understand me because I speak Bedouin, the original dialect of Emiratis. When you are original, you are different from others, more special. The fact that we have been here for ages. But Ajam, Baloch come from different places and then became Emirati. We were born as Emiratis; we grow up as such.” </p> </blockquote> <p>It is important to mention that, like Moza, none of my interlocutors identified themselves as ‘Afro-Emirati’, or black. They instead occasionally used <em>samra/sammariyya</em> (dark skinned/tanned) to refer to themselves. Even though the question of ‘roots’ is a sensitive subject to be discussed obliquely, a few informants openly shared their experiences of discrimination based on their physical appearance. Jamila, for example, carries a surname of one of the most prominent tribes in the UAE. Yet, growing up, she was, she said, often told by peers that “she was too dark to be Emirati” or asked why she carried this surname. She often sought the answers within her family, who were reluctant to talk about the matter.</p> <blockquote> <p>“I was called Sudanese [a colloquial term to refer to dark skinned people] for being dark. One of my friends once told me: ‘You are so cool but why are you too dark?’ She was a white Emirati. So that made me think that Emirati look was not what I had, but obviously at this age I no longer think so. My family identifies themselves as Arab Emirati. They are secretive about where we come from, but finally I was told that we have a mixture of Arab and Baloch origins. Ah and some ambiguous ethnicities that they won’t disclose to me for some reason (laughs). They told me not to tell anyone”.</p> </blockquote> <p>Seen from Jamila’s experiences, colour, even though often claimed to be immaterial, can affect claims to national identity, whilst also informing citizens of ‘what an Emirati should look like’. Racial differences – like other forms of ethnic, cultural or linguistic diversity – <em>within</em> Emiratis blur and are downplayed, especially when contrasted with ‘greater’ diversities such as the migrant population that outnumbers Emiratis. Phenotype is used as a marker and can be used to suggest cultural incompatibilities or even to reject claims to citizenship. Being a black Emirati herself, Moza’s choice to use ‘Sudanese’ to illustrate ‘otherness’, is particularly interesting: &nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p>“Let’s say even if a Sudanese gets an Emirati passport and says he is Emirati; his face will still tell he is Sudanese. Even if they were born in this place, everyone has a tradition from their own region that their face will show. It’s complicated to explain but we can see this”.</p> </blockquote> <p>Taken as a whole, it is safe to say that citizenship, historical links to and presence in the UAE, and cultural assimilation form the boundaries of the nation and naturalise phenotypical differences amongst the citizenry – but only to a certain extent. The limits of ‘Arabness’ as the collective identity of Emiratis become apparent in many contexts, such as when intimate decisions are made concerning marriage. The reluctance, if not objection, to intermarry is not only evident across different ‘racial’ lines, but also between ethnic, tribal, sectarian and cultural groups. Intermarriages are on the rise in the UAE but the issue of colour persists, perhaps due to the (erroneous) conflation of blackness with slavery, even though not all black Emiratis are of slave origins.</p> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery BTS Anonymous Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Thu, 15 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 BTS Anonymous 116046 at https://www.opendemocracy.net #WeAreOutiHicks: the fight to end gender-based violence in the construction sector https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/latisa-kindred/weareoutihicks-fight-to-end-gender-based-violence-in-construction-secto <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Women in construction experience some of the highest rates of sexual harassment and gender-based violence. Let’s not forget women like Outi Hicks in the current #MeToo moment.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/6918094118_e65016c3e0_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Mark Colliton/flickr. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>On 14 February 2017, 32 year-old apprentice carpenter Outi Hicks was murdered on the job in Fresno, California. </p> <p>Hicks began a pre-apprenticeship program while in prison. Once released, she was indentured into a contract with the Carpenters Union, and began working diligently as an apprentice carpenter. A mother of three beloved sons, Hicks was determined to build a better life for herself and her children. She followed all of the rules set before her, earned every certification she could, rode her bike miles to and from work: Outi was dedicated to her craft as a carpenter.</p> <p>From the time she met her murderer, Aaron Lopez, he was determined to give her a hard time. They worked on the same site, and while his exact position is unknown, he was a non-union worker. Hicks’ position as a union apprentice was just one of the many things Lopez harassed her about. She told her family of how he bullied and said nasty things to her, and even spoke of killing her. But Hicks’ primary goal was to better herself. She was determined not to allow his words or actions to deter her and to make things work, despite the negativity that this man brought into her life.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">Hicks’ murder should prompt us to engage in serious discussions around gender-based violence in the construction sector.</p> <p>On that fateful Valentine’s Day, Hicks was working with Lopez at the Rio Bravo plant in Fresno, California. The two got into an argument, and Hicks turned and walked away. Lopez ran behind her and bashed her in the back of the head with a metal pole. It is thought that the first blow killed her. But Lopez didn’t stop. He kept hitting her, and hitting her until people working in the area were able to climb down to where Hicks’ lifeless body was still being assaulted by Lopez. When they were finally able to pull him off of her, it was too late. Outi Hicks was dead.</p> <p>This incident is a dark example of the gender-based violence (GBV) experienced by women working in the construction industry. According to the <a href="https://aflcio.org/sites/default/files/2017-04/Ending%20Gender%20Based%20Violence%20in%20the%20World%20of%20Work%20USA%20Report%20%28002%29.pdf">AFL-CIO</a>, “[w]omen make up only 2.6% of workers in construction and extraction occupations, and a U.S. Department of Labor study found that 88% of them have reported experiencing sexual harassment at work”. Hicks’ murder should also prompt us to engage in serious discussions around GBV in the construction sector, and how any future acts of violence can be prevented. Did anyone witness the ongoing harassment of Hicks by Lopez? If so, what steps were taken to stop the harassment? What could have been done to protect Outi Hicks? Were the appropriate recourses for reporting GBV in this context available to Outi Hicks and potential witnesses? </p> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/20180212_133635%20%281%29.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Photo provided by author.</span></p> <p>The <a href="http://chicagowomenintrades2.org/women-building-nations/">2017 Women Build Nations</a> conference was held on 13–15 October Chicago, Illinois. In a presentation called “We Are Outi Hicks! End Workplace Violence NOW!”, the Chicago Women in Trades Diversity and Inclusion Committee paid tribute to Hicks and other women who have been senselessly murdered on construction sites. Hundreds of women in attendance signed a rendition of Hicks with the statements “I am Outi Hicks” and “We are Outi Hicks”. Bandanas and hard hat stickers proclaiming “We Are Outi Hicks, End Workplace Violence NOW!” were sold with the intention of bringing awareness to GBV in the workplace.</p><p>It is of grave importance that Outi Hicks’ life is not forgotten. On Thursday, March 8, 2018, in Fresno, California, Aaron Lopez will go on trial for the murder of Outi Hicks. We are urging all who can to please fill the courtroom. And for those who can’t, we are asking you to change your social media profile picture to the purple, “We are Outi Hicks, End Workplace Violence Now!” <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/20171009_184318.png">meme</a>. Together, we can make sure that Outi Hicks is not forgotten. Together, we can work towards ending GBV in the construction sector, among others. Together, we can work towards change! </p> <p><strong>#WeAreOutiHicks #EndWorkplaceViolenceNow</strong></p><p>&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sarah-newell/in-lieu-of-silver-bullet-metoo-in-global-workplace">In lieu of a silver bullet: #metoo in the global workplace</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/american-federation-of-labor-and-congress-of-industrial-organizations-international-la">Introducing a special theme series on gender-based violence in the workplace</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-ram-n-torres/they-came-into-showers-why-we-formed-independent-farm-w">Why we formed an independent farm workers union</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/unite-here-local-8/seattle-fights-hotel-worker-harassment-with-new-law">Seattle fights hotel worker harassment with new law</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-kalpona-akter/surviving-violence-in-bangladeshi-garment-factory">Surviving violence in a Bangladeshi garment factory</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-cassandra-waters/protection-lotto-against-gender-based-violence-in-u">The protection lotto against gender-based violence in the US</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/judy-gearhart-penelope-kyritsis/gender-based-violence-at-work-when-boss-is-threat">Gender-based violence at work: when the boss is the threat</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/penelope-kyritsis-iris-mungu/gender-based-violence-in-central-american-agricultural-in">Gender-based violence in the Central American agricultural industry</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/sarah-lyons/hands-off-pants-on-time-to-end-gender-based-abuse-in-hotel-industry">“Hands Off Pants On”: time to end gender-based abuse in the hotel industry</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Latisa Kindred Wed, 14 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Latisa Kindred 116105 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Connected first by a slave-master relationship and now by geographical proximity, the ‘white’ and ‘black’ populations of Ghbonton, Tunisia have a complex relationship with each other.</p> </div> </div> </div> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/Scaglioni.Tunisia920.jpg" width="100%" /> <p class="image-caption" style="margin-top:0px;padding-top:0px;">Photo by author. All rights reserved.</p> <p>“She is the friend of Marwa. She is a Ghbonton, but not an <em>‘abid</em> one”, Zeira said to me. She’s a colourfully dressed, middle-aged woman, and we’re sitting on the patio of her one-storey, cement block house in Gosbah, a village in the arid environment of southern Tunisia. While <em>‘abid</em> (singular: <em>‘abd</em>) means literally ‘slaves’ in Arabic, Zeira was not referring to Marwa’s legal status. Slavery in Tunisia was abolished in 1846. <em>‘Abid</em> is now a historical category in southern Tunisia, marking certain individuals as the descendants of former slaves and positioning them at the bottom of local social hierarchies. The ‘Abid Ghbonton – a Southern Tunisian tribe of slave descendants – live side by side in Gosbah with the Ghbonton, their former masters, dwelling on the less fertile and less watered part of the land. </p> <p>At the end of the nineteenth century, the ‘Abid Ghbonton officially parted from the Ghbonton lineage, whom they had been allegedly serving as slaves since ancient times. After their manumission they remained bonded to them by a pre-Islamic institution known as <em>wala’</em>. This obliged them to keep their former master’s family name as their own, with the addition of the ‘slave’ prefix, and to carry out sporadic domestic chores for the ‘whites’. In Zeira’s imagination, <em>‘abd</em> was synonymous with ‘black’.</p> <p>Even though “black and white are not … real colours [but social ones]”, as one shopkeeper in Gosbah explained, blackness is an everyday concern for the ‘Abid Ghbonton. It positions them, through a triangulation of blackness, slavery descent and socio-economic marginalisation, as inferiors within the highly hierarchical social universe of Southern Tunisia.</p> <h2>Slavery and blackness in Tunisia </h2> <p>Even though Tunisia imported both ‘white’ (or elite) slaves and ‘black’ slaves, only the latter were defined as <em>‘abd</em> and employed in the most physically demanding jobs. Historically, blackness in Muslim societies stems from a long-standing hierarchical ordering of humanity which goes back to well before the colonial conquest. Since Tunisia, like all Muslim countries, is patrilineal, ‘social blackness’ stems from the absence of an Arab lineage rather than bodily features or skin colour.</p> <p>Being a black slave entailed a high degree of interracial mixing and with it came chances at upward social mobility. For example, black slave women were also traded and sold as concubines, and the strict patrilineal and patrilocal system prevalent in Arab societies contributed greatly to the racial absorption of their children. Indeed, children of concubines were legally free and belonged to the ‘white’ lineage of their fathers, even though their skin was brown or black. Generations later both black and white Tunisians now carry a wide range of skin colours, and differences in their physical appearance are less distinct.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Children of concubines were legally free and belonged to the ‘white’ lineage of their fathers, even though their skin was brown or black.</p> <p>After abolition in 1846, the triangulation between slavery, blackness, and a socially inferior echelon condensed and acquired further negative connotations, because many freed black slaves ended up in situations of deprivation, impoverishment, vagrancy, prostitution and peddling. Therefore, non-whiteness began to be structurally linked to poverty, and to other stereotypes such as disreputability, sexual availability (nowadays, around 10% of prostitutes in Tunis are of slave descent), inclination to crime – especially stealing – and ugliness.</p> <p>Today, the ‘Abid Ghbonton are no longer professionally exploited as they used to be, but, they still experience the enduring legacies of slavery in the form of severe racism, geographical marginalisation, and social and political discrimination. Furthermore, strict endogamic practices prevent marital bonds and alliances forming between the two lineages: ‘Abid Ghbonton and Ghbonton.</p> <p>As a consequence of their being racialised as ‘blacks’, the ‘Abid Ghbonton suffer from a number of negative stereotypes: they are considered to originate from Sudanic Africa, and are often referred to, as many other black Tunisians, as <em>ifriqyin</em> (Africans). ‘White’ Tunisians – those claiming Arab descent – would not define themselves as such. As one activist who started questioning racism and discrimination after the 2011 overthrow of the former dictator Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, told me: “The connection to slavery is still present … here. Now they (the blacks) are called ‘oh wassif’ (servant) and they tell you ‘oh, you come from Africa’! As if Tunisia was in another continent”. </p> <p>While ‘blackness’ is accorded negative meaning, ‘whiteness’ is connected with social prestige and high status. I will try to unpack the categories of whiteness and blackness, as they are evoked and mobilised on the level of aesthetics and marital alliances in the everyday life of the ‘Abid Ghbonton.</p> <h2>Aesthetics of blackness</h2> <p>For the Ghbonton, ‘whiteness’ is conceptually connected to ideas of beauty and purity. “In Tunisian you even say, ‘what is Barca (the Spanish football team) doing? White or black’ (is it winning or is it losing)?” the blacksmith of Gosbah explained. In the intimacy of their households or when they gather together in cafés, the Ghbonton can use <em>wassif</em> or <em>‘abid</em> to refer to the ‘Abid Ghbonton and <em>ahrar</em> (literally, ‘freemen’) to refer to themselves.</p> <p>The term <em>‘abd</em>, for the Ghbonton, has a double connotation: it can be used either neutrally as a lineage denomination or as a pejorative. For example, in 2016, a young man from Gosbah, was – most probably wrongfully – accused of having stolen some cash from the driver of a minibus. The driver, a man from the white Ghbonton tribe, rushed to Gosbah screaming “the <em>‘abd</em> had stolen my money!”. As this incident shows, every single day ‘Abid Ghbonton have to reckon with, and struggle against, prejudices of dishonesty and aggressiveness, which are linked to the enduring stigma of slavery and blackness.</p> <p>Nonetheless, today, the comparison between historical forms of racialisation and racial constellations on the ‘Abid Ghbonton reveals important discontinuities. Although many people told me a person is socially black because he/she “comes from the blacks”, Tunisians’ racial thinking is fluid and has changed over time and context. Physical markers, for example, have become increasingly important since the lineages parted even though the separation is justified on the grounds of descent. Nowadays, the ‘Abid Ghbonton are very concerned with their appearance and with their ‘blackness’, and especially women envy others’ ‘whiteness’ and try to whiten and conceal their skin colour with beauty products.</p> <p>The ideal that “the whites do not get married to the blacks” was called into question 20 years ago, when men from the ‘Abid Ghbonton started marrying to white, non-Ghbonton women. Some of these women come from Mednine, from the neighbouring Djerba, and sometimes from abroad. In speaking with the women, it seems that while their families at times protested against the marriage it wasn’t because of the slave descent of the intended grooms. For example, Selma, who comes from a village next to Mednine, is white and her husband is from Gosbah. She recalled: “my brother was worried [about my marriage] because Gosbah is not a nice place to live in”.</p> <p>Hilel, whose mother is Algerian (and racialised as ‘white’) and whose father is a ‘Abid Ghbonton, is herself commonly considered to be ‘white’. She has now married an ‘Abid Ghbonton herself and is very concerned about the appearance of her one-year-old daughter. The fear is that she might turn out <em>samara</em> (brown).</p> <p>The patrilineal system of racialisation has also become less powerful over time. Women in Tunisia still get married into a patrilineal system, but their heritage now also plays a role in determining how their children will be categorised. Hilel is racialised as white because her mother is white, and <em>in spite of</em> her father’s blackness. Her daughter thus has some chance of not growing <em>samara</em> even though her father is black. It is worth noting that ‘Abid Ghbonton are more concerned by the blackness of their daughters than that of their boys. When I asked another white woman what the problem was in growing into a black woman, she told me that it is not “desirable”. A black woman could have less chances to get married, she said, drawing an implicit connection between blackness and ugliness.</p> <h2>Conclusion</h2> <p>Some racial conceptions about blackness in Tunisia have survived covertly up to present days, crystallising in the triangulation between blackness, slavery, and inferior social position. The ‘Abid Ghbonton are racialised by their servile past, which is epitomised by their lineage name and by their skin colour. The emphasis put on skin colour throws into question the classical theory of race in the Middle East, according to which colour appears as relatively marginal. </p> <p>However, race in southern Tunisia is also a fluid concept. ‘Abid Ghbonton have found strategies of racial upward social mobility through mixed marriages, and created a specific niche for mixed children. Depending on the context, women’s power in determining their children’s social position has furthermore grown as of late, in sharp contrast to the strict patrilineal ruling patterns of racial transmission in the past.</p> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Marta Scaglioni Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Wed, 14 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Marta Scaglioni 114764 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Are Haratines black Moors or just black? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The racialisation of the anti-slavery struggle in Mauritania has created a patchwork of identities and alliances.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/6702492559_90b9bf01f0_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Fish market in Nouakchott.&nbsp;Evgeni Zotov/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>In mid-September 2017 a US delegation of anti-slavery activists, including Jonathan Jackson, the son of Reverend Jesse Jackson and the spokesman of the US civil rights organisation Rainbow PUSH Coalition, was denied access to Mauritania. A few months before, the French journalist Tiphaine Gosse and the French human rights lawyer Marie Foray were expelled from the country under the accusation of working with the unauthorised local organisation <em>Initiative pour la résurgence du mouvement abolitionniste en Mauritanie</em> (IRA Mauritanie). </p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Slavery in Mauritania differs from what is often meant by ‘modern slavery’ in other contexts.</p> <p>These events show the extent to which the Mauritanian authorities are sensitive to international inquiry into slavery in the country. The access denied to the human rights activists also reveals the ambiguity marking anti-slavery policies in Mauritania. On the one hand, the question of slavery has been high on the political agenda of various post-colonial governments for the past few decades. A number of laws and measures have been enacted to end slavery, including&nbsp;a law against human trafficking in 2003, a law punishing the practice of slavery in 2007, and a new one in 2015 that further increased penalties for slavers.</p> <p>On the other hand, the governments have hindered, if not overtly repressed, anti-slavery activists. For example, state repression of the El-Hor movement, which has existed since 1978, reached its peak in 1980 with the prosecution of several El-Hor leaders in the ‘Trial of Rosso’. In the last decade, several Mauritanian abolitionists and HR activists have been imprisoned for their anti-slavery activities. In particular, IRA Mauritanie, founded in 2008 by Biram Dah Abeid, has become the main target of the repression carried out under the presidency of Abdel Aziz. </p> <h2>Slavery in Mauritania</h2> <p>Mauritania has become sadly popular for the issue of slavery over the past decade. The Walk Free Foundation ranked it the first country for the existence of <a href="http://www.bbc.co.uk/ethics/slavery/modern/modern_1.shtml">modern slavery</a> in the Global Slavery Indices 2013 and 2014. Because of its historical roots, however, slavery in Mauritania differs from what is often meant by ‘modern slavery’ in other contexts. Slavery within West African black communities ended during French colonisation, even if it often transmogrified into relations of dependence and new forms of exploitation like forced labour, taxation and military conscription – as <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/legacies-of-slavery-in-southern-senegal">Alice Bellagamba</a> reported – as well as social stigma.</p> <p>In contrast, slavery within the Arab-Berber society continued undisturbed in Mauritania during the colonial period and a decree of abolition of slavery came only in 1981, 20 years after Mauritania signed onto the 1948 UN Declaration of Human Rights condemning slavery in 1961. After abolition, slaves (<em>‘ābid</em> in Arabic) were formally freed and became Haratines (<em>harātin</em>, Arabic), a social group of former slaves and their descendants of black origin.</p> <p>Haratines are sometimes referred to by scholars as ‘black Moors’ to distinguish them from the ‘white Moors’, the Beydanes (<em>bidan</em>, Arabic). At first sight, this is just a chromatic division of an apparent organic unity, a superficial re-proposing of a previous distinction between <em>bidan</em> (‘whites’) and <em>sudan</em> (‘blacks’). In fact <em>sudan</em> was the term used to refer to slaves and freed slaves within the Moorish society, thus revealing not only racial but also social connotations. If a slave (<em>‘abd</em>, singular of <em>‘abid</em>) could be freed to become a <em>hartani</em> (singular of <em>harātin</em>), descent-based stigmatisation persisted, preventing him from becoming <em>bidan</em>. Crucially, the ‘chromatic demonisation’ of the Haratines accorded them stigmas and subhuman connotations, as this rhyme goes:</p> <style><!-- #flexwrapper {margin-top: 0;padding: 0;display: flex;} #flexleft {padding: 0px 20px;width:50%;height:100%;} #flexright {width:50%;margin-top: 0;padding: 0px 20px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;} --></style> <div id="flexwrapper"> <div id="flexleft"> <p><em>Haratine baratine</em></p> <p><em>Oulad a’m cheyatines</em></p> <p><em>Jabou lek hal mene le khnaviss</em></p> <p><em>Jabou le khneuz meun le’tariss</em></p> <p><em>La kalou yeu balgou</em></p> <p><em>La ja’ou yeu sargou</em></p> </div> <div id="flexright"> <p>Haratines are grandchildren of devils</p> <p>they received the colour of cockroaches</p> <p>and the smell of goats.</p> <p>If hungry, they steal.</p> <p>If they eat, they bloat.</p> </div> </div><p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Nowadays about 7-10% of Haratines are estimated to be in slavery. A larger number live under different conditions of dependence on their former masters, and they also experience widespread marginalisation. In 2013, 25 Haratine leaders with different political orientations presented the ‘<a href="http://www.cridem.org/C_Info.php?article=642816">Manifest for political, economic, and social rights of the Haratines</a>’, which contains a thorough analysis of the condition of the Haratines in Mauritania and programmatic guidelines of what should be done to reach equality among all citizens. The document describes the Beydanes and Haratines as “two entities more and more distinguished” and claims that Haratines form a “socio-ethnic category”.</p> <p>It was El-Hor in 1978 that first identified the ‘cultural specificity’ of the Haratines, with their double belonging to both the black-African world of their ancestry and the Arab world in which they grew up. IRA Mauritanie goes a step further in emphasising racial dimension of slavery. For its founder Dah Abeid, the Haratines have their own black identity that distinguishes them from the Arabs: “Black Moors do not exist! There are Haratines and Moors. It is Moors that describe themselves as ‘White Moors’. It is not our problem…”</p> <p>While Dah Abeid describes blackness as a key component of the Haratine identity, he also argues they form a community that is distinct from ‘black-Mauritanians’ (comprised of the groups: Wolof, Soninké, Halpulaar, Bambara). In Dah Abeid’s view, historical reasons for the exploitation of Haratines by Beydanes rest on ethnic elements: the ‘white’ leading class exploits the poorest, which is that of the Haratines. However Haratines, Dah Abeid says, are “black autochthones” (black indigenous) and thus their claims of equality and full citizenship is legitimate. Due to enslavement, they have been forcefully assimilated into the Arab society, thus causing their identity to be “African, Arab, and Berber, forged with pain by oppression”.</p> <p>According to IRA, after having exploited them as slaves, nowadays the Arabs turn their affinities with Haratines against black-Mauritanians. This is a key point. Haratines are estimated to be 40-45% of the total population. They tip the balance as the biggest social group in the country, with the rest almost equally composed of Arabs (25-30%) and black-Mauritanians (around 30%). Biram Dah Abeid affirmed: “They [Arabs, ed.] claim the identity of the Haratines without asking to the Haratines. They claim the Haratines to be Arabs to grow in number to the detriment of Blacks, to lower the number of Blacks, to exclude Blacks”.</p> <p>The ways Dah Abeid associates or distinguishes Haratines from other black-Mauritanians, depending on the issue at stake, may convey a sense of ambiguity regarding the alleged ‘blackness’ of both groups. However, Dah Abeid considers Haratines as ‘just black’, “black-African for their origin and <em>direct</em> cousins of black-Africans”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">They [Arabs] claim the Haratines to be Arabs to grow in number to the detriment of Blacks, to lower the number of Blacks, to exclude Blacks.</p> <h2>From stigmatisation to activism</h2> <p>IRA Mauritanie converts the stigmatisation of the black origin of Haratines into a keystone of community identification. In the last years, Dah Abeid has strengthened the cooperation with black-Mauritanian organisations, especially by promoting demonstrations that show the common marginalisation and violence suffered by these stigmatised social groups. Most notably, he has organised pilgrimages to the sites where black-Mauritanians were massacred during ethnic cleansing in 1990-91.</p> <p>In so doing, Biram Dah Abeid hopes to spread his popularity and to become the spokesman of all the marginalised Mauritanians, who are mostly black. He claims that the fight against slavery is an economic fight, thus the end of slavery implicates the end of the exploitation of all the oppressed Mauritanians. This is part of the new strategy carried out by IRA Mauritanie both with the internationalisation of the fight against slavery and the construction of a national network of members and affiliations throughout Mauritania.</p> <p>With IRA Mauritanie, Dah Abeid has created a deeply politicised organisation. Its novel structure and ideology pieces together experiences and ideologies of previous organisations and renews the fight against slavery. In 2014 Dah Abeid made a first attempt to evaluate his political weight in 2014, when he competed for presidential elections. Although he got only 8.67% of the vote against 81.89% obtained by Abdel Aziz, Dah Abeid legitimated himself as potential competitor.</p> <p>Dah Abeid was arrested during a demonstration that same year, only to be released in April 2016 after several international campaigns proved the unprecedented popularity of IRA and its president. One of the most renowned anti-slavery activists worldwide, Dah Abeid has collected several international awards for his non-violent fight against slavery, among them the <a href="http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/hrprize.asp">UN Human Rights Prize</a> in 2013. This has made of Biram Dah Abeid the ‘<a href="http://unpo.org/article/17820">Mauritanian Mandela</a>’ – Nelson Mandela won the same prize 25 years earlier –&nbsp;and the term ‘apartheid’ has begun to appear in Western media to describe Mauritanian society.</p> <p>We must be careful though, as the description of a country divided in two racial blocks – one exploiting the other – is a dangerous simplification. First of all, it favours allegations of racism against IRA Mauritanie by its opponents, who accuse Dah Abeid of being divisive and damaging to the unity of the country. As a consequence, this makes IRA Mauritanie unpopular amongst Beydanes with all but a few exceptions.</p> <p>Moreover, the representation of Mauritanian society as divided in two racial blocks, Arab and black, obscures the process of community building among the Haratines, who would see their ethnic specificity dissolved within an indistinct big black community. Indeed, the racialisation of Haratines as black could be seen as just one of the elements that characterise their identity, a useful tool to highlight their marginalisation and exploitation within Mauritanian society. To make racial legacies the main trait of the Haratine identity could seriously damage the cohesion among the Haratine community that is still in progress.</p> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Giuseppe Maimone Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Tue, 13 Feb 2018 22:38:52 +0000 Giuseppe Maimone 115988 at https://www.opendemocracy.net On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>The shift towards a collective identity based on race has had major implications for Yemen’s most marginalised people.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/9640700287_f9dbcc5f84_k.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Pomegranate seller, Yemen. Rod Waddington/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/">(CC BY-SA 2.0)</a></span></p><p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">In 2013, Nu‘man al-Hudheyfi – a man of <em>akhdam</em> origin – participated at the National Dialogue Conference (NDC) held in Sanaa as part of the crisis reconciliation efforts following the 2011 Yemeni Arab Spring. At the time, Hudheyfi was the President of the National Union for the Marginalised and a member of the General People's Congress, the majority party in the country. In the past, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VnyDwwgK9cE">he has defined</a> the ‘marginalised’ as all “those people excluded from property and instruction, forced to live at the margins of society”. But during the conference, his focus was mainly his fellow people, the <em>akhdam</em>, as he condemned the NDC’s racism (<em>‘unsuriyya</em>) by pointing out that Yemen’s three million ‘black people’ had only one representative at the NDC. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">Crucially, Hudheyfi brought attention to how the <em>akhdam</em>’s social, economic and political <em>marginalisation</em> intersects with discrimination based on their <em>skin colour</em>. By bringing into focus ‘blackness’ as a defining characteristic of the <em>akhdam</em>, Hudheyfi qualified his people as a discrete ‘ethnic group’ resting on a particular racial identity – a move that significantly expanded the meaning of the term ‘racism’, which was traditionally used to refer to descent-based discrimination in Highland Yemen.</p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">In Yemen, the <em>akhdam </em>are a minority group of black slum dwellers that are often relegated to ‘impure’ or ‘impious’ tasks, such as serving, musical performances, and magic, among others. Traditionally, most of them dwelled in rural areas of western and southern Yemen. However, after the 1962 revolution establishing the Yemen Arab Republic, many <em>akhdam</em> were compelled to work as salaried street-sweepers in major cities. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">During the oil boom in Saudi Arabia in the 1970s, many Yemenis – including a large number of <em>akhdam</em> – left their country in the hopes of improving their economic situation. However, after the first Gulf war, these migrants were forced to return back to Yemen. And since the <em>akhdam</em> had no property or land to come back to, many of them<em> </em>found refuge in isolated, temporary, makeshift camps called <em>mahwa</em> – a term that is typically used to describe a dog shelter – where they lacked access to water and electricity. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">Today, the <em>akhdam</em> continue to suffer from socio-economic discrimination: they experience difficulties enrolling their children in school and accessing employment. They are perceived by the Arab majority in Yemen as the lowest-ranking group of the hierarchical system of the Yemeni Highlands, similarly to the low-caste Pariah group in India. Due to this social stigma, they are condemned to endogamy and to socio-political marginality. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The emphasis on ‘blackness’ as the defining characteristic of his people was a crucial shift from folk representations of the <em>akhdam.</em></p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">Hudheyfi’s emphasis on ‘blackness’ as the defining characteristic of his people was a crucial shift from folk representations of the <em>akhdam</em>, which focus on their genealogical origin rather than their skin colour. In Highland Yemen, it is common to believe that people descending from the same ancestor share the same physical and moral qualities (e.g. values, linguistic and technical skills, taste, dress code, posture, etc.). </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">The most recognised lines of descent are Northern Arabs and Southern Arabs. People belonging to these two genealogical stocks are believed to embody superior moral qualities, such as generosity and bravery, and are deemed pious Muslims. The residual minority of the population is described as ‘lacking in origin’ (<em>nuqqas al-asl</em>) and believed to be morally deficient, a category that encompasses white-skinned people – usually working as servants, bards and butchers – and dark-skinned people alike. While it is not rare to find black Arabs (especially in the area of the Red Sea Tihama coast), those who belong to the <em>akhdam</em> minority are perceived as a genealogically defined subset of the wider category of people ‘lacking in origin’, and are therefore more discriminated against than their white counterparts. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">Genealogical essentialism relies on a peculiar form of historical consciousness, what Andrew Shryock would define ‘genealogical imagination’. This form of historical imagination refers moral selves to their past origin, and vice versa: the glorious deeds or the infamous acts of the ancestors concur to define moral selves in the present. The <em>akhdam</em>, for instance, are often associated with a subset of Ethiopian invaders who raided Yemen in the 6<sup>th</sup> century a.d. led by the Christian commander Abraha al-Ashram, and are consequently labelled as betrayers or cowards.</p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">This focus on descent is mirrored by the way the notion of racism first emerged in the Yemeni public discourse. In 1962, a revolution erupted overthrowing the Imam and establishing the Yemen Arab Republic (YAR). During the imamate, political power was reserved to people of Hashemite origin (i.e. Northern Arabs and descendants of the Prophet Muhammad), so the notion of racism (<em>‘unṣuriyyah</em>) was first adapted to the Yemeni context in order to condemn the use of genealogy as a means to rule and claim distinctive privileges. Indeed, Mohammed al-Zubayri – one of the ideologues of the revolution – even accused the Hashemites of ‘partisanship of the origin’, a form of positive racism. It is therefore unsurprising that the 1962 provisional constitution fostered an egalitarian ideology, abolishing distinctions grounded on lineage, and that the 1991 constitution reaffirmed the principle by stating that the Yemeni State “shall guarantee equal opportunities for all citizens in the fields of political, economic, social and cultural activities” (Art. 24 of the Constitution).</p> <p>However, in spite of this egalitarian ideology, lineage remains a central concern in contemporary Yemen. Ideological state apparatuses depict ‘national character’ on two grounds: Yemeni citizens are defined as Muslims and ‘Sons of Qahtan’ (i.e. Southern Arabs). The <em>akhdam</em> – like other marginalised minority groups – do not qualify as either: first, they cannot trace back their lineage to the ancestor of Southern Arabs and second, their moral character is deemed impious, as shown by the proverb “Don't look at the beauty of the <em>akhdam</em>, sins are in their bones”. Whereas, in other historical contexts, the symbolical and social exclusion of human subjects acquires meaning through notions of race grounded in skin-colour and phenotypical traits, in Yemen individuals are essentialised and excluded due to their genealogical origin. It is against this backdrop that we can understand how marginalised people resort to the notion of racism in order to criticise the discriminatory practices enacted by the vast majority of the Arab population. </p> <p>White-skinned butchers, servants, and bards, as other professional castes, are harshly discriminated against by the Arabs, especially on the basis of marriage. Drawing on the historical tradition that considers lineage-privileges as a form of discrimination, this group of white-skinned people ‘lacking in origin’ overtly accuses the Arabs of ‘racism’ (<em>‘unsuriyya</em>), a local usage that differs significantly from our understanding of race and racism as being grounded in skin-colour and phenotypical traits. But while recognising a mutual stigmatised status, these white-skinned people are unable (and unwilling) to identify with the <em>akhdam</em> on political grounds. This situation is determined by multiple factors, among which two are decisive: firstly, each professional caste takes pride in its own lineage, in contrast to the hegemonic narratives that describe people ‘lacking in origin’ as one homogenous group of morally deficient individuals; secondly, unlike many <em>akhdam</em>, these professional castes rarely suffer economic marginality and spatial segregation, since they have access to education and property. </p> <p class="mag-quote-center">In spite of the egalitarian ideology, lineage remains a central concern in contemporary Yemen.</p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">The dark-skinned <em>akhdam</em>, on the contrary, seem to emphasise a colour-based form of racial discrimination, using skin-colour as a medium to construct an encompassing group identity and to claim social and political inclusion. Running against the evidence that dark-skinned Arabs exist (and that they are not labelled <em>akhdam</em>), many <em>akhdam</em> – including Hudheyfi – would suggest that “this is the Yemeni culture: every black is an <em>akhdam</em>”. This assumption brings colour to the foreground, extending the potential number of marginalised people to “ten million Yemeni citizens”, and rearticulating the <em>arab/akhdam</em> binary as being one of “white” vs. “black”. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">In July 2013, Hudheyfi founded a political party named <em>Akhdam Allah</em>. During the presentation, <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EUz6Lo5sMsE">he affirmed</a>, “It is a long struggle. We walk on the path of our predecessors (<em>aslaf</em>): Mandela in South Africa and Martin Luther King in the United States.” By evoking international key figures of the black movements in South Africa and the US, he resorted to racism as a powerful, internationally recognised, tool for political struggle. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">This last point brings us to a decisive matter. Unlike other marginalised caste-groups in Yemen, who are almost invisible, the <em>akhdam</em> have been tremendously successful in mobilising international institutions and media in their support. In many occasions, international and local broadcasters (e.g. al-Jazeera, CNN Arabic, etc.) have dedicated thorough reports to their condition. The International Dalit Solidarity Network (2011) has described their situation in terms of a “caste-based discrimination”. </p> <p class="Primorientrocorpodeltesto">The Economic and Social Council of the United Nations (2011) has emphasised the “social and economic marginalization” of the <em>akhdam</em> referring to the General Recommendation no. 29 of the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, which crucially extends the meaning of ‘race’ by including descent-based discrimination. These international reports, while recognising that genealogical origin is still a major drive in shaping people's economic and social conditions in contemporary Yemen, exclusively focus on the marginalisation of the <em>akhdam</em>. This focus, I argue, depends on the fact that by turning descent into race, the <em>akhdam </em>have succeeded in redefining their community as an identifiable “discriminated ethnic group” of black people.&nbsp;</p> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Luca Nevola Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Tue, 13 Feb 2018 22:38:30 +0000 Luca Nevola 116005 at https://www.opendemocracy.net “In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Even student and young professional Senegalese migrants have to navigate the legacies of slavery in Morocco as ‘Africans’.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/23615057586_4dafc23724_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">Essaouira, Morocco.&nbsp;Julien Lagarde/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p>In a 2012 interview titled “<a href="http://www.slateafrique.com/89415/recit-du-racisme-ordinaire-envers-les-noirs-au-maroc-bassirou-ba">Dans la peau d’un noir au Maroc</a>”, Bassirou Ba, a Senegalese professional, narrated his experience of being black-skinned person in Morocco. Like many Senegalese students, Ba arrived in Morocco on a scholarship to complete his studies and also found employment there. In 2007, he gained a master’s degree in journalism and communication in Rabat and worked as journalist for a number of francophone magazines<em>.</em> However, his experience was also marked by multiple everyday forms of racism that reveal, in his view, the sense of superiority that some Moroccans feel vis-à-vis sub-Saharan Africans, and their views of black people as ‘slaves’, ‘servants’, and ‘moral inferiors’. </p> <p>Ba’s testimony is part of a debate underway in Morocco about the issue of ‘anti-black racism’ and its relationship with the racial legacies of slavery. The magazine <em>Jeune Afrique</em> helped begin this debate in the early 2000s by publishing personal testimonies of both black individuals from the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africans on their own experiences with racism. The attention given to this question has substantially increased since 2013, however, following a spate of violent incidents between Moroccans and sub-Saharan migrants that included the murders of the Congolese Alexis Toussaint and the young Senegalese Ismail Faye.</p> <p>In the aftermath of growing civil violence, the King Mohammed VI launched a new immigration policy, which included the regularisation of undocumented migrants in 2014. International NGOs, Moroccan human rights organisations, and sub-Saharan migrants’ associations came together to denounce institutional violence as well as widespread anti-black attitudes against sub-Saharan African migrants. The national campaign <em>Je ne m’appelle pas ‘azzi</em> was launched in 2014 to raise public awareness on racism in Moroccan society. </p> <p>Many Moroccan human rights and anti-racist activists connected racism against sub-Saharan migrants to the stigmatising visions conveyed in media and political discourses, which were, in turn, the consequence of violent transnational migration policies. Another line of argument, popularised in independent press, interpreted the persistence of colour prejudices against black Africans as a fundamental racial legacy of slavery, drawing on the work of prominent scholars such as Chouki El Hamel, author of <a href="http://www.cambridge.org/gb/academic/subjects/history/african-history/black-morocco-history-slavery-race-and-islam?format=PB"><em>Black Morocco: A history of Slavery, Race and Islam</em></a>. While both discourses captured important aspects surrounding ‘racism’ in Morocco, they risked reducing its complexity to either historical or political factors.</p> <p>The narratives of the Senegalese students and young professionals I met in Rabat in 2014 pointed to something much more complicated. Unlike the stigmatised transit population, the people with whom I spoke occupied privileged positions as university students and professionals. Moreover, due to the historical commercial, religious, and cultural connections between Senegal and Morocco, most of them arrived in Morocco full of expectations for a country they imagined to be “the natural prolongation of his homeland” – as one person put it – and a very religious country. Upon arrival, however, they were confronted with racial prejudices, if not overt racism (from being insulted in the street, to having stones thrown at them, to being spat upon) and discovered that linguistic, social cultural and chromatic barriers made their integration difficult.</p> <p>Let us start with Mohammed.</p> <h2>Mohammed’s story</h2> <p>When I met Mohammed in 2014 he was a 25-year-old masters student in Rabat and also worked in a Moroccan company. Recalling his arrival in 2009, he said, “before I left, my mother said: you have the opportunity to become more religious”. However, the reality he encountered in the cosmopolitan Rabat generated a sense of estrangement. </p> <p>When he first ventured outside the university residence with a friend, he was confronted with racist insults. The son of the greengrocer<em> </em>called him <em>‘azzi</em>, a derogatory term he had never heard before and which contextually means negro, black, slave. “The problem is the adults”, he said. “If the child is allowed to say this and his father does not react, he is the one who authorises him to insult the blacks”. Mohammed also recalled an incident that deeply marked him: </p> <p>“When you see an elderly person, you respect him because he might be your uncle. One day I went out to go to the <em>fac.</em> I was awaiting a taxi in the street. I called the taxi, and when it stopped, an old man got up, and when I tried to get up, the elder man said in French: 'I don’t take a taxi with a negro'.”</p> <p>When I asked him if he thought such racial prejudices were linked to his skin colour, Mohammed highlighted the extent to which the connection between slavery and blackness is rooted in Moroccans’ imagination. “Since there was slavery and there were Arabs who owned black slaves, Moroccans think that all blacks are slaves”, he said. “Also the King owned black slaves. When they see a black they think he is a slave”.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">"When they see a black they think he is a slave."</p> <p>For Mohammed, the history of racialised slavery in Morocco affects not only slave descendants, but also people who come from regions of sub-Saharan Africa regardless of their ancestry. Apart from Moroccans who have travelled or migrated abroad, who are more empathetic because they have experienced racism and discrimination in Europe, Mohammed thinks that in general racial prejudices pervade all sectors of society, including the university. While Mohammed’s reflections point to his deep sense of exclusion, Paul’s narrative further complicates this vision.&nbsp; </p> <h2>Paul’s story</h2> <p>Originally from Dakar, the capital of Senegal, Paul arrived in Morocco in 2005 to start his university studies in medicine. When he started his specialisation at the hospital, he became part of a small group of predominantly Moroccan students and, for the first time, he was confronted with the local population at the ER. This enabled him to develop a deeper understanding of society and in his conversations with me he emphasised the widespread frustration felt by many Moroccans: “I am a foreigner and I have a college scholarship when there are Moroccans who cannot afford to study at university and don’t have a job. One must understand the attitude of these people, who are marginalised and who think ‘these foreigners study or work in the place of my son’”.</p> <p>While emphasising the plight of the local population, he disclosed that he had been confronted with racist insults and violent attacks in popular neighbourhoods or outside the university residence. While he described these people as marginal, ignorant, poor, and seeking ways to survive, he said that racism is often a motivation to attack, verbally or physically, black Africans. “When you walk in a street and they throw stones at you, or spit on you, they aren’t seeking money. This is racism.”</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">“When you walk in a street and they throw stones at you, or spit on you, they aren’t seeking money. This is racism.”</p> <p>Subtle forms of discrimination and racial prejudice are also present in the university. For Paul, some Moroccan students’ limited knowledge of Africa and its history and culture, along with the stereotypical representations conveyed by television programmes, contribute to racial prejudices. “In schools they don’t study the history of Africa, they only associate it war, famine, poverty”, he said. “Every time they see a black, they identify it with it. A student asked me, did you have schools? Do you have roads? Do people live on the trees? This shows that much is to be done on the educational and cultural level”. </p> <p>Paul highlighted how racial prejudices against black Africans affect their intimate lives. When he was in the first years of university, he had love relationships with Moroccan female students, but these ended because of the social pressures. “People gossiped about me with her and said that she was an easy girl because they don’t conceive, or accept, that a Moroccan girl can be together with a young black man”. For Paul, the fact that some Moroccans consider black individuals as inferior does not affect only sub-Saharan Africans, but also black Moroccans. “Some families would not marry their daughter to a black Moroccan man because of his skin colour. It is changing, but this still exists”, he said. </p> <p>The firm, anti-racist stance of a large part of Moroccan civil society clearly demonstrates that racism is not only enacted, but also locally debated, contested and struggled against. Along with the racial prejudices described by my interlocutors, the everyday exchanges between Moroccans and sub-Saharan Africans reveal different dynamics, including cooperation, dialogue, mutual curiosity, friendship and love. However, the ways Mohammed and Paul experience and interpret 'racism' reveal how intertwined historical and contemporary socio-political dynamics shape specific racial prejudices and forms of social exclusion against black Africans. Their perspectives suggest that the racial legacies of slavery invest not only marginalised undocumented migrants, but also the more privileged students and professionals with elements of the social inferior status historically accorded to black slaves. At the same time, Morocco's ambivalent positioning in international political arenas, media stigmatisation, poor knowledge of Africa and Africans, rising unemployment, and widespread poverty and social insecurity work together to nourish frustrations, social tensions and resentments vis-à-vis the 'newcomers'. Mohammed's and Paul's reflections invite us to reflect on, instead of taking it for granted, the relations between the historical and the contemporary in post-slavery contexts. </p> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Laura Menin Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Tue, 13 Feb 2018 22:37:22 +0000 Laura Menin 114840 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Being 'black' in North Africa and the Middle East https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Former slaves and their descendants in North Africa and the Middle East might be formally free, but the racial legacies of slavery continue to affect intimate, social and political forms of life.</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/17086307836_ccfa3d560b_o.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Gorée Island is known as the location of the House of Slaves, and was used for the slave trade.&nbsp;John Karwoski/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></span></p><p><span class="image-caption"><a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/"></a></span>Growing attention to the racial and colour-based discrimination that sub-Saharan Africans and African slave descendants face in the Maghreb and in the Middle East has opened up new spaces to debate the relationship between 'racism' and legacies of slavery in the two regions. While these debates are far from new in a context like Mauritania, where former slaves and slave descendants have struggled for decades against descent-based discrimination, in many other North African and Middle Eastern countries they have emerged only relatively recently. This is perhaps because, as the Moroccan historian Chouki El Hamel notes, a "culture of silence" has long prevented these countries from engaging with, and discussing overtly, questions of race, slavery and colour.</p> <p>With this week's special series, we seek to unpack the 'racial issue' in different post-slavery contexts in West Africa, North Africa and the Middle East by interrogating its connections with local histories of slavery and their contemporary legacies. Drawing on fresh case studies from Senegal, Mauritania, Morocco, Tunisia, Emirates and Yemen, the contributors reflect on the complex intersections of historical and contemporary dynamics that shape present imaginations of 'blackness', black identities, and belonging. They also look at new forms of racial discrimination and activism based on specific constructions of race.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">A "culture of silence" has long prevented these countries from engaging with, and discussing overtly, questions of race, slavery and colour.</p> <p>Very few authors have looked at the racial legacies of slavery in these contexts to date, in contrast to the relatively large amounts of scholarly attention shown to the memory of the transatlantic slave trade and race in the post-slavery Americas. That is thankfully starting to change. A growing body of historical works (think Paul Lovejoy, Martin Klein, Alice Bellagamba, Ann McDougal, Ehud Toledano, John Hunwick, Eve Troutt Powell, Terence Walz, Kenneth Cuno, Bruce Hall, Chouki El Hamel, Ismael Montana and Behnaz Mirzai) have significantly enriched our knowledge of the history of slavery and race in West Africa and the Mediterranean Muslim world. A number of anthropological studies have furthermore explored the shadows of slavery in the lives of slave descendants and <em>haratin</em> (a term generally translated as 'freed blacks' or 'free blacks'), especially in Mauritania and in the Maghreb area.</p> <p>However, we need to explore if and how current developments are reshaping racialised dynamics in social, political and intimate lives. Tracing the local meanings of race, with its complex relations to ideas of colour, origin, blood and descent, the contributors seek to interrogate how current expressions of racism connect with historical experiences of slavery.</p> <h2>Breaking the silence</h2> <p>Since the early 2000s, the francophone magazine <em>Jeune Afrique</em> has published personal testimonies of both Black Maghrebians and sub-Saharan Africans. The questions posed regarding identity and discrimination in these narratives became more urgent following the protests and revolutions that took place in many North African and Middle Eastern countries in 2011. In post-revolution Tunisia, for example, we've seen unprecedented forms of black rights activism that question the very idea that black emancipation can exist without a continued struggle against racism.</p> <p>In 2014, in Morocco, the national campaign "my name is not a negro" (<em>ma smitish 'azzi</em>) gave public visibility to the issue of racism in Moroccan society. In March 2016, a network of associations launched the international anti-racist campaign "neither serfs nor negro: stop that's enough" (<em>ma oussif, ma 'azzi: baraka wa yezzi</em>) in Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Mauritania. From Mauritania to Yemen, local anti-racist movements and societal debates have enabled novel political practices, languages and subjectivities to emerge. To what extent, we ask, are current anti-racist movements and debates on race able to capture the complexity and multiplicity of the experience of 'blackness'? What histories and vocabularies are mobilised to raise public awareness and attain political goals?</p> <p>Engaging with these questions, some pieces reflect on the emergence of race in their interlocutors' political imaginations and public actions. In Mauritania, where slavery was abolished in 1981, the anti-slavery organisation <em>El Hor</em> (established in 1978) has denounced the persistence of slavery and its consequences on the lives of the <em>haratin</em> in terms of the socio-political stigmatisation and chromatic demonisation. However, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">as Giuseppe Maimone shows</a>, with IRA Mauritanie, a local organisation founded by Biram Dah Abeid in 2008, ideas of colour and racial discrimination have started to replace the classic focus on slavery and descent-based forms of discrimination of previous antislavery movements.</p> <p>In Yemen, a political discourse based on colour has been mobilised by the <em>akhdam</em>, a dark-skinned marginalised group, to gain a public voice and denounce their socioeconomic and political discrimination. <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">As Luca Nevola shows</a>, in a society in which individuals and groups are ranked according to their genealogical origin, an emphasis on colour entails a crucial shift in the common sense representations of this group. Crucially, Nu'man al-Hudheyfi, the political leader of the <em>akhdam</em>, reference prominent figures like Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela to give international visibility to his political struggle.</p> <p>In Morocco, it has been the growing public attention to violence and discrimination against sub-Saharan Africans that has recently opened a debate on the issue of anti-black racism and its connections to the history of slavery. Against the backdrop of these debates, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">Laura Menin shows</a> how Senegalese students and young professionals experience, interpret, and reckon with racism in their everyday lives. Their stories suggest that while the legacies of slavery affect local constructions of 'blackness', current racism against black Africans also speaks to contemporary dynamics in Morocco, in which media stigmatisation, unemployment, widespread poverty and social insecurity work together to nourish social tensions and resentment vis-à-vis the "new" comers.</p> <p>From different perspectives, these pieces show the complex ways in which 'blackness' is embodied, experienced, represented and contested by different social actors - be they slave descendants of African origins, <em>haratin</em>, or Sub-Saharan African students and professionals.</p> <h2>Lived legacies and present pasts</h2> <p>The processes of abolition and emancipation followed different paths and took place at different times in North Africa and the Middle East. The consequences have also varied greatly depending on the context. Yet while not all black-skinned people are descendants of slavery, nor are all slave descendants black, one important legacy that this history has left behind across the board is the close connection between blackness and slavery in the popular imagination. This had led socially 'white' people to position socially 'black' people in lower or subordinate positions.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">An important legacy that the region's slave history has left behind across the board is the close connection between blackness and slavery in the popular imagination.</p> <p>In many contexts, colour attribution reveals more about local dynamics of power, status and origin than colour itself. This emerges clearly in Marta Scaglioni's piece on the meanings and practices associated to 'blackness' among the 'Abid Ghbonton, a community of slave descendants in southern Tunisia. She shows how visions of 'blackness' rooted in the history of slavery in Tunisia re-emerge, in different guises, in her interlocutors' everyday lives and aesthetics. This makes both 'blackness' and colour central concerns, for women especially, in relation to marriage, beauty, and social prestige.</p> <p>Not all countries have, like post-revolution Tunisia, begun to centre questions of race and colour in public debates. In other contexts, like the Emirates, these remain taboo topics. Former slaves became Emirati citizens in 1971, several years after abolition in 1963, and since then the process of modern state-building has since sought to include them within a single 'Arab' national identity. As a consequence, the roots of many Emiratis in the Indian Ocean and East Africa have become lost. They have not been forgotten however. As an anonymous contributor demonstrates, even though the slave past is officially silenced the daily dynamics of colour, origin, and race expose the limits of Emirati citizenship in absorbing difference.</p> <p>It is often when marriage is at stake that questions of colour and origin matter, making a slavery past vividly present in people's lives. Alice Bellagamba's contribution focuses precisely on marriage, a crucial question in the Kolda region of Senegal, as one important site where the shadows of slavery become palpable. In this context, a marriage between a slave descendant and a person of free or noble ancestry isnot only met with social opprobrium on the side of the latter, but also considered unideal by the person 'marrying up'. Even though an increasing number of young people aspire to a marriage based on love rather than on local norms, questions of origin and race continue to have an impact in a context where marriage remains a key factor of social reproduction.</p> <p>Taken together, the pieces found in this special feature draw attention to the multiple and complex ways the shadows of slaveryare experienced, reckoned with, and even politically mobilised by different social actors in West Africa, North Africa and the Middle East. These present pasts, as <a href="https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Alice Bellagamba reminds us</a>, overlap with and influence current socio-political dynamics.</p> <hr style="border-top:2px solid #0e63bc;margin-bottom:10px;" /> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/erc_logo2.jpg" width="125" style="float:right;margin-left:20px;margin-bottom:30px;" /> <p><em>This Guest Week week presents the results of research carried out by the team of ERC GRANT, ‘<a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">Shadows of Slavery in West Africa and Beyond (SWAB): a Historical Anthropology</a>’ (Grant Agreement: <a href="http://www.shadowsofslavery.org/">313737</a>). The team has researched in Tunisia, Chad, Ghana, Madagascar, Morocco, Pakistan and Italy under the leadership of Alice Bellagamba. The team has invited Giupeppe Maimone, Luca Nevola, and an anonymous contributor to participate in the discussion.</em></p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-anoth-sidebox"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;</p><span style="font-size:110%"><strong>Contemporary agriculture and the legacies of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/struggling-on-wrong-side-of-chain-labour-exploitation-in-global-agricult">Struggling on the wrong side of the chain: labour exploitation in global agriculture</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/joanny-b-lair/agricultural-investments-in-tanzania-economic-opportunities-or-new-forms">Agricultural investments in Tanzania: economic opportunities or new forms of exploitation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">JOANNY BÉLAIR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ra-l-zecca-castel/extorted-and-exploited-haitian-labourers-on-dominican-sugar-plantati">Extorted and exploited: Haitian labourers on Dominican sugar plantations</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/irene-peano/containment-resistance-flight-migrant-labour-in-agro-industrial-district-o">Containment, resistance, flight: Migrant labour in the agro-industrial district of Foggia, Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAÚL ZECCA CASTEL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/layla-zaglul/navigating-unsafe-workplaces-in-costa-rica-s-banana-industry">Navigating unsafe workplaces in Costa Rica’s banana industry</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAYLA ZAGLUL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/problem-of-working-for-someone-debt-dependence-and-labour-exploitation">The problem of “working for someone”: debt, dependence and labour exploitation in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/working-for-former-masters-in-madagascar-win-win-game-for-former-slaves">Working for former masters in Madagascar: a ‘win-win’ game for former slaves?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><br /><br /><p>&nbsp;</p> <span style="font-size:110%"><strong>The shadows of slavery</strong></span><br /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/living-in-shadows-of-slavery">Living in the shadows of slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALICE BELLAGAMBA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/emancipation-and-music-post-slavery-among-black-tunisians">Emancipation and music: post-slavery among black Tunisians</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARTA SCAGLIONI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/e-ann-mcdougall/life-in-nouakchott-is-not-true-liberty-not-at-all-living-legacies-of-s">‘Life in Nouakchott is not true liberty, not at all’: living the legacies of slavery in Nouakchott, Mauritania</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">E. ANN MCDOUGALL</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/valerio-colosio/memories-and-legacies-of-enslavement-in-chad">Memories and legacies of enslavement in Chad</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VALERIO COLOSIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/gloria-carlini/ghetto-ghana-workers-and-new-italian-slaves">Ghetto Ghana workers and the new Italian ‘slaves’</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GLORIA CARLINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/antonio-de-lauri/brick-kiln-workers-and-debt-trap-in-pakistani-punjab">Brick kiln workers and the debt trap in Pakistani Punjab</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANTONIO DE LAURI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marco-gardini/malagasy-domestic-workers-from-slavery-to-exploitation-and-further-emanc">Malagasy domestic workers: from slavery to exploitation and further emancipation?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCO GARDINI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/alessandra-brivio/kayaye-girls-in-accra-and-long-legacy-of-northern-ghanaian-slavery">Kayaye girls in Accra and the long legacy of northern Ghanaian slavery</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ALESSANDRA BRIVIO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/laura-menin/racialisation-of-marginality-sub-saharan-migrants-stuck-in-morocco">The racialisation of marginality: sub-Saharan migrants stuck in Morocco</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LAURA MENIN</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/being-black-in-north-africa-and-middle-east">Being &#039;black&#039; in North Africa and the Middle East</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/giuseppe-maimone/are-haratines-black-moors-or-just-black">Are Haratines black Moors or just black?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/luca-nevola/on-colour-and-origin-case-of-akhdam-in-yemen">On colour and origin: the case of the akhdam in Yemen</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/laura-menin/in-skin-of-black-senegalese-students-and-young-professionals-in-rabat">“In the skin of a black”: Senegalese students and young professionals in Rabat</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/marta-scaglioni/she-is-not-abid-blackness-among-slave-descendants-in-southern-tunisia">“She is not a ‘Abid”: blackness among slave descendants in southern Tunisia</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/beyondslavery/bts-anonymous/the-multiple-roots-of-emiratiness">The multiple roots of Emiratiness: the cosmopolitan history of Emirati society</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/alice-bellagamba/whom-should-i-marry-genealogical-purity-and-shadows-of-slavery-in-sou">Whom should I marry? Genealogical purity and the shadows of slavery in southern Senegal</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Laura Menin Shadows of slavery III: 'Blackness' in North Africa and the Middle East Mon, 12 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Laura Menin 116032 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The power of speaking out: an interview with South Africa’s pioneering activist for domestic workers’ rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/myrtle-witbooi-neil-howard/power-of-speaking-out-interview-with-south-africa-s-pioneer <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Myrtle Witbooi spent decades working as a domestic worker, before becoming a leader in the domestic worker movement. Her message is simple: domestic work is decent work, and should be treated as such.</p> </div> </div> </div> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/23CirGc9J_M?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>My name is <strong>Myrtle Witbooi</strong> and I am from South Africa. We (the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sadsawu.com/">South African Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union</a>) are the only domestic workers' union in South Africa. The union was founded by domestic workers and former domestic workers that decided they have had enough of the exploitation and came together to form their own union. Basically, the union was founded during the Apartheid years, when domestic workers had no voice. We could not even answer to the master, we had to obey to everything we were told to do.</p><p>It took us another 40 years to get actual labour laws in South Africa. At that point in South Africa, a domestic worker was earning like $3 or €3 a month and had no rights. You know, it was a terrible experience to live in South Africa as a domestic worker during the Apartheid years, because we had no freedom. But we are women, and we are very strong. And if we can do the work in the house, we can also think for ourselves. So we decided to stand up and we decided to talk about why we are different than other workers and that slowly started a shift in South Africa.&nbsp;</p> <p>Over the years, we have managed to reach about 50 000 domestic workers. And then in 1994, there was democracy in South Africa, but there were still no rights for domestic workers. So we decided to challenge our democratic government. In 2001, we asked our government: "Why are there no laws for domestic workers?" And then we actually went into parliament for the first time, we talked to them, and my question to them was: "We were fighting together for this freedom, so why must I now stand in front of you and beg you for labour laws for domestic workers?"&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">We were fighting together for this freedom, so why must I now stand in front of you and beg you for labour laws for domestic workers?&nbsp;</p> <p>We wanted to be included in unemployment insurance, because if we became unemployed, our families would suffer. They said no, that there was no way domestic workers would ever get this passed. We said fine, and started thinking about what would be our next move. And then, five of us decided to go to parliament and we locked the parliament, so nobody could come in or out. The next day, I went to speak in parliament and I said: “I am so ashamed of this government. We are working for you, we are the ones that dress you, we are the ones that clean your clothes, not your wives. Who feeds your children? It's domestic workers. So why must we beg you for everything?” And they said, “Ok, we're sorry, it will take another year”. The next morning, people were phoning to say: "Myrtle, do you know you have unemployment insurance now?"</p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/J1CjVosRX4k?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>This shows you the power of the domestic workers. It shows you that we might not be highly educated, we might not have a degree but we have a good brain. And God has given us the ability to speak out. And that is how domestic workers in South Africa are now organising themselves: domestic workers are speaking out.</p> <p>So what is the role of domestic worker organisations now? Our role is to see that domestic workers are educated about their rights. Also, with the different languages in the world, we have to ensure that workers know their rights and understand them in their language. So this is the role of the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF). We declare that refugees, migrant workers, and domestic workers are all the same. There is no difference between us, we all work for employers, we all suffer the same, we all understand low wages. We are workers and our work is decent work.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">We are workers and our work is decent work.</p> <p>Because if it wasn't for our work, many of you wouldn't be able to go to university. Some of you might not be able to have the businesses you have. So this is the message that we want to say to the world. That our work is decent work, and our work makes all work possible. And like we say: nothing for us, without us.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Neil Howard (oD): If you are not on a podium every day, you should be, Myrtle. This is beautiful. I could tell that you are obviously a politician, this is very clear. A couple of other questions related to exactly what you have said. Why is the domestic workers struggle also important for labour struggle generally?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Myrtle</strong>: If you look at domestic workers, they all do the same labour. And if we look at migrant workers, you find that they don’t have a voice when they come to new countries. They are isolated, and that is why it is important for the movement to advocate for their voices to be heard all over the world. We don't want to leave any domestic workers out in the cold. We want to make sure that labour laws cover migrants in all countries.</p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/1OawNNWc9iU?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p>This goes beyond the Domestic Workers Convention (C189), because if your country doesn't have national labour laws, C189 won’t do anything for domestic workers. We have to have our national laws. When we started fighting for C189, we never thought we would have an international domestic workers federation. Then, after we got C189, it struck us: where to now? What are we going to do with this tool that we've got? How are we going to reach domestic workers? And that’s when we started talking about the impossible dream of an international domestic workers federation. The most significant part of the is that its controlled by women. We are not excluding men, but we wanted a federation controlled by women. Many people doubted us.&nbsp; Now, five years later, tomorrow, I'm sitting in front of you, and we made it.</p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/103092647_8d198c219c_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ /flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p><strong>Neil (oD): Could you please speak a little bit about the linkages between the domestic workers struggle and also women's struggles, anti-racist struggles, migrant struggles, just some of the linkages between these different struggles.</strong>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Myrtle</strong>: I think it's important because all women, or most women, depend on domestic workers. Most of the most powerful women in the world they depend on domestic workers. So it's important that all women support the domestic workers' struggle. It's important that all women see that their house is a proper house for domestic workers, their house is a safe house for domestic workers. That's why we launched the <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elizabeth-tang-marie-jos-l-tayah/it-takes-two-to-tango-how-employers-can-help-formalis">My Fair Home campaign</a>.</p> <p>We also have to think about domestic violence, we also have to think about violence against domestic workers. Often it remains a secret in the home, because domestic workers are too scared to speak out. And sometimes you don't even know you are abused. So I think it's important that all women stand together. We shouldn't be seen as an isolated group, like here are the domestic workers and there are the academics. We should see that the academics are supporting the domestic workers' struggle. We should be seen as women.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Most of the most powerful women in the world they depend on domestic workers.&nbsp;</p> <p>Often, when big cooperatives invite us to speak we ask them, “Oh, where is your domestic worker?” They respond, “Oh, but how can she be here? She's supposed to clean my house”. So what is she then? You are calling me to the meeting but you are leaving the other woman that's working for you at home. So that's always my challenge to women. How are you supporting the struggle that we are in? Women should support the domestic worker struggle. Women should see us their worker a woman in their house, not an object.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): Why is the struggle important for racism and Black people?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Myrtle</strong>: In South Africa, our color dictated our experience as domestic workers. If I am Black, I am a poorer domestic worker. At the moment, we have a lot of exploitation, especially migrant workers coming to our country now from other African countries. For example, we find that some agencies will specifically seek out Black workers, because they feel that Black workers are easier to exploit. And that must stop. It is something that we are faced with every day. Black workers are getting more exploited.</p> <iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/tFmxyJ1pfeI?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe> <p><strong>Neil (oD) : One final question, for people who are not experts and who don't necessarily understand the history of the struggle, could you just in a few sentences explain why migrant workers are especially vulnerable? What is it about migrant status that makes them especially struggle?</strong></p> <p><strong>Myrtle</strong>: I think the problem is that migrant workers are considered to be cheap labour. And we need to fight this. If you employ a domestic worker in South Africa that knows her rights and she knows what her salary should be, you’ll have a harder time getting away with exploiting her than you would with a migrant worker, who might not have the same information.&nbsp;</p> <p>If I am from a country like Lebanon and I come from South Africa and I don't understand the language, how can I tell people I am being exploited? Today, the biggest force of employment is migrant workers, especially in countries other than South Africa. It's the biggest challenge we face. Refugee workers have no papers, so they are even more exploited because they are hidden in the house, and they cannot come out because they are scared. So you see there is so much to do in this whole Federation, there are still so many hidden corners. And as long as we can, we have to try and see how we can bring the message across to domestic workers, that they are workers, like all other workers.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARISSA BEGONIA<br />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VICKY KANYOKA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MYRTLE WITBOOI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RUTH KHAKAME</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LULU OMAR</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARÍA ROA,&nbsp;ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LOURDES ALBÁN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ok-seop-shim/let-s-write-contract-and-call-me-house-manager-experiences-of-workers-coo">Let’s write a contract and call me house manager: experiences of a workers’ cooperative</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">OK-SEOP SHIM</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lana/from-runaway-domestic-worker-to-organiser-in-singapore">From runaway domestic worker to organiser in Singapore</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LANA</span></p><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Myrtle Witbooi Fri, 09 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Myrtle Witbooi and Neil Howard 115971 at https://www.opendemocracy.net En quête de reconnaissance: les travailleurs domestiques se mobilisent en France https://www.opendemocracy.net/zita-cabais-obra-neil-howard/en-qu-te-de-reconnaissance-les-travailleurs-domestiques-se-mobilisent-e <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Malgré les avancements importants accomplis par le mouvement syndical en France, le gouvernement français se doit de reconnaître (enfin) le travail des employés domestiques. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/zita-cabais-obra/from-anonymity-to-recognition-domestic-workers-organise-in-france">English</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WAtCbCfIH0Y?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>Tout d'abord, je me présente&nbsp;: je suis&nbsp;<strong>Zita Cabais-Obra</strong>, originaire des Philippines. Je suis migrante comme travailleuse domestique en France. Auparavant, j’étais victime de l'esclavage moderne. C'est la Confédération française démocratique du travail (CFDT) qui m'a soutenue jusqu'au tribunal et jusqu’au jour où j'ai gagné mon procès.</p> <p>Je suis par la suite devenue militante et dirige actuellement un syndicat professionnel qui s’occupe des travailleurs domestiques de la région Parisienne. Ma présence est importante dans cette organisation car les travailleurs domestiques sont des professionnels, mais inconnus. Je dis «&nbsp;inconnus&nbsp;» parce que leur contribution est invisible à l’œil du public même si leur profession est très importante au quotidien.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Avec leur situation invisible, il n’y a pas moyen de savoir ce qui se passe dans leur milieu de travail.</p><p>Notre lutte en est une contre les inégalités et injustices que ces travailleurs peuvent subir, tout comme celles que j’ai moi-même vécues à l’époque. J’ai eu la chance d’être soutenue par la CFDT et par le fait même, d’avoir découvert une organisation qui peut accompagner ces personnes ayant besoin de soutien. Nous avons en France 1.4 million de salariés dans le secteur du travail domestique et le syndicat que je dirige en représente 38 à 40%.&nbsp;: c’est quand même énorme! La majorité de ces travailleurs sont des travailleurs migrants, pour la plupart des femmes et la majorité sont aussi des travailleurs non déclarés. Si je dis «&nbsp;non déclarés&nbsp;», c’est afin de désigner les travailleurs migrants sans titre officiel, dont la situation au pays n’est pas régularisée. Avec leur situation invisible, il n’y a pas moyen de savoir ce qui se passe dans leur milieu de travail. C’est pour cette raison que je pense que l’organisation a un rôle important auprès de ces travailleurs afin qu’ils puissent sortir de l’invisibilité et obtenir une reconnaissance quant à leur profession, afin qu’ils puissent être traités de la même manière que tous les autres travailleurs<em>.</em></p> <p><strong>Neil Howard (oD)&nbsp;: Qu’est-ce que l'État doit faire pour améliorer la situation ainsi que les conditions de travail de ces travailleurs domestiques?&nbsp;</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita</strong>&nbsp;: Je pense que l’État français doit tout d’abord se souvenir du rôle des travailleurs domestiques dans la sphère économique. Ce sont des travailleurs qui contribuent à l’économie française. Prenons pour exemple les charges sociales, c’est un peu oublié. Je peux dire qu’en France il y a déjà une certaine reconnaissance&nbsp;: on a la convention collective et certaines protections sociales. Il y a par contre un grand manque à gagner dans certains domaines, comme dans celui des droits syndicaux. Les droits syndicaux sont importants, car ils permettent aux syndiqués d’avoir connaissance de leurs droits. Disons que je suis employée de maison, que je garde une personne fragile, que ce soit un enfant, une personne âgée. J’ai besoin de me syndiquer afin de prendre connaissance de mes droits. Je m’absenterais alors de mon lieu de mon travail, mais ne serais pas payée. Ma demande est donc que ces salariés puissent avoir des droits syndicaux afin ils soient en mesure d’exercer leur métier en tant que syndiqués dans le monde du travail.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD) : J’imagine qu’il est donc très important pour vous d’être présente, ici (au colloque&nbsp;«&nbsp;The Global Struggle for Domestic Workers’ Rights&nbsp;»), à l’occasion de cette journée internationale des travailleurs domestiques.</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita&nbsp;</strong>: C’est très important que je sois&nbsp;ici aujourd’hui, cela me fait plaisir et je remercie beaucoup les organisateurs pour l’invitation. C’est un honneur qui me permet de partager ce qu’on a en France avec tous les travailleurs domestiques dans le monde entier. On se doit de les soutenir &nbsp;étant donné que ce sont quand même environ 55 millions de travailleurs «&nbsp;non reconnus&nbsp;» dans le monde entier. C’est donc très important pour moi d’être là. Je veux leur dire qu’ils ne sont pas seuls. Nous sommes là pour les soutenir&nbsp;; une voix pour tous. Je pense que c’est très important d’être réunis et d’avoir une voix solide pour que l’on puisse faire reconnaître nos droits. </p><p> <img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/3841849807_03e9071ff4_o%20%281%29.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ /flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p><a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/"></a>Comme je disais tout à l’heure, c’est très important d’obtenir une reconnaissance pour ces employés. C’est un métier où la confiance est primordiale, parce que l’on confie les soins de personnes fragiles, de nos appartements, etc. Étant donné que ces salariés ont un rôle très important dans la société, nous avons besoin d’avoir un projet concret et élaboré ensemble, en plus d’être solide. Nous devons faire appel au gouvernement français, étant donné qu’à ce jour, il n’a toujours pas ratifié la Convention internationale 189 (C189).</p> <p><strong>Neil&nbsp;: Au cours de cette lutte pour la justice en milieu de travail, avez-vous établi des liens tactiques ou stratégiques avec d’autres mouvements et/ou syndicats&nbsp;?</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita&nbsp;:</strong> Effectivement, en France, nous avons ce qu’on appelle le dialogue social. Nous avons été en mesure de mener à terme les négociations entourant la convention collective grâce à l’existence de ce dialogue social. La prévoyance mutuelle pour la santé au travail, la classification pour que la personne qui travaille ait un salaire par rapport à son niveau. On travaille intersyndicalement.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Neil&nbsp;: Aimeriez-vous ajouter quelque chose?</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita</strong>&nbsp;: Je tiens à préciser que la CFDT est en fait le premier syndicat en France dans le secteur privé. Mon syndicat représente les assistants maternels et salariés de service à la personne et affiliés. Le syndicat que je dirige actuellement représente environ 1000 membres dans la région, mais il reste tout de même beaucoup de travail à faire.</p> <p>J’aimerais également vous informer que nous organisons un événement qui se tiendra ce samedi afin de commémorer la journée internationale des travailleurs domestiques, comme nous le ferons demain, en face de la tour Eiffel. Nous nous réjouissons particulièrement car c’est la première fois que nous tenons un événement de ce genre. Nous voulons faire pression sur le gouvernement français de ratifier la C189. Nous voulons par le fait même attirer son attention sur la situation de ces travailleurs, qui demande une reconnaissance complète de leur domaine professionnel au même titre que tout autre salarié français.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-sabrina-marchetti/global-landscape-of-voices-for-labour-right">Domestic workers speak: a global landscape of voices for labour rights and social recognition</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">GIULIA GAROFALO GEYMONAT<br />SABRINA MARCHETTI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ai-jen-poo/out-from-shadows-domestic-workers-speak-in-united-states">Out from the shadows: domestic workers speak in the United States</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">AI-JEN POO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/zita-cabais-obra/and-we-continue-to-meet-domestic-workers-stand-up-in-france">“And we continue to meet”: domestic workers stand up in France</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ZITA CABAIS-OBRA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/pina-brustolin-raffaella-maioni/chapter-of-our-shared-history-from-servants-to-domesti">A chapter of our shared history: from servants to domestic workers in Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RAFFAELLA MAIONI<br />PINA BRUSTOLIN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARISSA BEGONIA<br />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VICKY KANYOKA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MYRTLE WITBOOI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RUTH KHAKAME</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LULU OMAR</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARÍA ROA,&nbsp;ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LOURDES ALBÁN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span></p><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Zita Cabais-Obra Thu, 08 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Zita Cabais-Obra and Neil Howard 113228 at https://www.opendemocracy.net From anonymity to recognition: domestic workers organise in France https://www.opendemocracy.net/zita-cabais-obra/from-anonymity-to-recognition-domestic-workers-organise-in-france <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>While unions in France have made significant strides in the advancement of domestic workers’ labour rights, the French government needs to fully recognise domestic labourers. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/zita-cabais-obra-neil-howard/en-qu-te-de-reconnaissance-les-travailleurs-domestiques-se-mobilisent-e">Français</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/WAtCbCfIH0Y?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>First off, let me introduce myself. My name is <strong>Zita Cabais-Obra</strong> and I am originally from the Philippines. I migrated to France as a domestic worker. Before this, I was a victim of modern slavery. It was the French Democratic Confederation of Labour (FDCL) that supported me in court, and until the day I won my case.</p> <p>I became an activist for the cause of domestic workers rights. I currently lead the professional union that covers domestic workers in the Paris region, in France. My presence in this organisation is important, because the domestic workers are often anonymous. I use the word “anonymous” because their labour is invisible to the public eye and yet their work is of crucial importance, every day.</p><p class="mag-quote-center">The French State needs to remember the important economic contribution of domestic workers.</p> <p>Our struggle is to fight the inequalities and injustices faced by domestic workers, which are similar to those I faced in the past. I was fortunate to be supported by the FDCL and in the process, I discovered that this organisation could indeed help support workers in similar conditions. In France, we have around 1.4 million employees from the domestic work sector and the union I lead covers about 38–40% of these workers. This is a significant number. The majority of these workers are mostly women migrants and also undeclared workers. When I say “undeclared”, I am talking about migrant workers who are undocumented. Such circumstances make it difficult for us to know what is happening in their workplace. So I believe the organisation has an important role in helping these workers get out of their invisible work situations, obtain recognition for their labour, and have the same treatment as other workers.</p> <p><strong><strong>Neil Howard (oD):</strong> What does the state need to do to improve the situation and the general work conditions for domestic workers?</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita:</strong> I think that the French State needs to remember the important economic contribution of domestic workers, which is often forgotten. They need to understand the importance of social security for domestic workers, for example. In France, I can say that domestic workers are somewhat recognised, since we have collective agreements and a few social protections. However, many domestic workers lack rights as union members. Let’s say, for example, I am caring for an elderly or frail person. Like any other worker, I need to be unionised because I need to know my rights. To do so, I would need to be absent from my workplace, but I wouldn’t get paid. My demand is that employees who are in this situation could have the right to do their work as unionised workers in the world of work.</p> <p><strong><strong>Neil:</strong> It must be very important for you to be here (at the <a href="https://domequal.eu/event/the-global-struggle-for-domestic-workers-rights/">Venice Symposium “The Global Struggle for Domestic Workers’ Rights”</a>) during this International Domestic Workers’ Day?</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita:</strong> It is very important for me to be here today, it makes me happy and I am thankful to the symposium organisers that invited me. I am honoured because it allows me to share our work in France with domestic workers from the around the world. We need to support domestic workers around the world. After all, there are around 55 million domestic workers that are not recognised. It is important for me to be here and to tell them that they are not alone. We are here to support them. It’s important to be united and have a collective voice in order to achieve rights for us all.</p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/3841849807_03e9071ff4_o%20%281%29.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ /flickr. <a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p>As I was saying earlier, it is important to recognise the labour of domestic workers. This is a profession that requires trust, because employers entrust domestic workers with the responsibility to care for people who are vulnerable, for their households, etc. I can say that these employees have a very important role in society. We need to elaborate a concrete project and to call on the government of France ratify the International Convention 189 (C189), as they have yet to do so.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong><strong>Neil:</strong> In your struggle for the rights of domestic workers, have you made any tactical or strategic alliances with other labour movements?</strong></p> <p><strong>Zita:</strong> In France, we have we call a social dialogue. This is how we managed to negotiate the collective convention for domestic workers, health insurance and professional classification, so that people who work in this sector could obtain salaries depending on their level of qualifications. We work across unions. The FDCL is the first union in France for the private sector. The union that I am currently directing is a professional union for childcare assistants and personal caregivers. I have about 1000 members in the region, but there is still a lot of work to do. This Saturday, we are also organising an event to commemorate the International Domestic Workers’ Day, like we are doing here, in front of the Eiffel Tower. It’s going to be a very nice event and it’s the first time we're doing this, so we could ask the French government to ratify the C189 and also ask them to fully recognise domestic workers and their labour, so they can be treated like any other worker.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-sabrina-marchetti/global-landscape-of-voices-for-labour-right">Domestic workers speak: a global landscape of voices for labour rights and social recognition</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">GIULIA GAROFALO GEYMONAT<br />SABRINA MARCHETTI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ai-jen-poo/out-from-shadows-domestic-workers-speak-in-united-states">Out from the shadows: domestic workers speak in the United States</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">AI-JEN POO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/zita-cabais-obra/and-we-continue-to-meet-domestic-workers-stand-up-in-france">“And we continue to meet”: domestic workers stand up in France</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ZITA CABAIS-OBRA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/pina-brustolin-raffaella-maioni/chapter-of-our-shared-history-from-servants-to-domesti">A chapter of our shared history: from servants to domestic workers in Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RAFFAELLA MAIONI<br />PINA BRUSTOLIN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARISSA BEGONIA<br />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VICKY KANYOKA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MYRTLE WITBOOI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RUTH KHAKAME</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LULU OMAR</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARÍA ROA,&nbsp;ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LOURDES ALBÁN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span></p><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Zita Cabais-Obra Thu, 08 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Zita Cabais-Obra and Neil Howard 113202 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Defendiendo los derechos de los empleados domésticos en México https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marcelina-bautista/defendiendo-los-derechos-de-los-empleados-dom-sticos-en-m-xico <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Los trabajadores domésticos en México sufren de una falta de protecciones legales, y hacer valer a los convenios laborales internacionales. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marcelina-bautista/precarity-of-domestic-workers-in-mexico">English</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DPuVD9Xc_yc?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p>Soy <strong>Marcelina Bautista</strong>, de la Ciudad de México. Vengo del Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras del Hogar. Es una organización que se funda para la defensa y promoción de los derechos humanos laborales de las trabajadoras del hogar.</p> <p>En México, la situación de las trabajadoras del hogar se ha vuelto muy precaria, ya que sus derechos no han sido reconocidos. Es por eso que este sindicato está promoviendo esos reconocimientos que debería tener como trabajo. </p> <p>Las trabajadoras del hogar tienen que tener un trabajo digno, que cuente con un salario justo, que reconozca el derecho a organizarse y a la seguridad social. También, los empleadores deben reconocer el valor del trabajo doméstico, que les permite a ellos ser profesionales y contribuir de otras formas al bienestar de sus países.</p> <p><strong>Neil Howard (oD): ¿Qué significa la convención internacional para ustedes como sector?</strong></p> <p><strong>Marcelina:</strong> Para el sector de trabajadoras del hogar la convención es muy importante. En muchos de nuestros países no existe una ley que regule nuestros derechos, por lo tanto, lo único que tenemos es el Convenio 189. En el caso de México, en donde nuestros derechos no son reconocidos y las leyes son muy malas, estamos pidiendo que se ratifique. Llevamos seis años pidiendo la ratificación de este convenio con nuestro gobierno.</p> <p>México no lo ha hecho, por eso es que nuestro sindicato decide negociar de una manera más directa con los empleadores para que ellos vayan reconociendo este derecho. Hemos creado un contrato colectivo de trabajo que pueden firmar y que va formalizando esta relación laboral. Hoy que estamos en el sexto aniversario del Convenio 189, hago un llamado a mi gobierno en México para que ratifique este convenio. De 183 países que han firmado este convenio, solamente 24 han ratificado. Por lo tanto, creo que es muy importante que llamemos a todos los gobiernos para que cumplan, ya que nuestro trabajo es muy importante para la sociedad. </p><p> <img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/951371165_205a3e3e67_o.jpg" /><span class="image-caption">♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ /flickr.&nbsp;<a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p><strong>Neil Howard (oD): ¿Por qué es esta lucha importante para otros trabajadores?</strong></p> <p><strong>Marcelina:</strong> Creo que la unidad entre trabajadores es muy importante. No solamente el sector de trabajadoras del hogar pasa dificultades en cuanto al reconocimiento de sus derechos. La unidad entre diferentes luchas es también muy importante, ya que en nuestro sector hay trabajadoras migrantes, trabajo infantil y mujeres indígenas. Debería ser esencial simplemente que toda persona trabajadora realice un trabajo justo y digno. </p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): ¿Hay algo más que le gustaría decir?</strong> </p> <p><strong>Marcelina:</strong> Llamo a todas mis compañeras trabajadoras del hogar a reforzar nuestra lucha y dignificar nuestro trabajo, pidiendo a todos los empleadores que lo reconozcan como tal, con los derechos que acompañan a cualquier otro tipo de trabajo.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARISSA BEGONIA<br />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VICKY KANYOKA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MYRTLE WITBOOI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RUTH KHAKAME</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LULU OMAR</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARÍA ROA,&nbsp;ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LOURDES ALBÁN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ok-seop-shim/let-s-write-contract-and-call-me-house-manager-experiences-of-workers-coo">Let’s write a contract and call me house manager: experiences of a workers’ cooperative</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">OK-SEOP SHIM</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lana/from-runaway-domestic-worker-to-organiser-in-singapore">From runaway domestic worker to organiser in Singapore</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LANA</span></p><hr /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-related-stories"> <div class="field-label">Related stories:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/beyondslavery/ram-n-torres-penelope-kyritsis/trabajadores-migrantes-crean-union-independiente-para-c">Trabajadores migrantes crean union independiente para combatir la discriminacion de género y proteger sus derechos laborales</a> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery DemocraciaAbierta Marcelina Bautista BTS en Español Fri, 02 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Marcelina Bautista 113519 at https://www.opendemocracy.net The precarity of domestic workers in Mexico https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marcelina-bautista/precarity-of-domestic-workers-in-mexico <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Mexican domestic workers face precarious protections and a lack of legal recognition, despite international efforts to recognise their rights. <strong><em><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/marcelina-bautista/defendiendo-los-derechos-de-los-empleados-dom-sticos-en-m-xico">Español</a></em></strong></p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe width="460" height="259" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/DPuVD9Xc_yc?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" frameborder="0"></iframe></p> <p>My name is <strong>Marcelina Bautista</strong>, and I am from Mexico City. I represent the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores y Trabajadoras del Hogar (National Union of Domestic Workers). It is an organisation founded to defend and promote the human rights and labour rights of domestic workers.</p> <p>In Mexico, the situation with domestic workers has become very precarious, since their rights have not been legally recognised. Our union is advocating for the legal recognition of domestic workers’ rights. Domestic workers deserve dignified work conditions, a fair wage, and recognition of their right to organise and to social security. Additionally, employers must recognise the value of domestic labour, which allows them to be professionals and contribute to the wellbeing of their countries in other ways. </p> <p><strong>Neil Howard (oD): What does the international convention mean for the domestic labour sector?</strong></p> <p><strong>Marcelina:</strong> For domestic workers, the convention is very important. Many of our countries do not have laws that guarantee our rights, so we can only turn to Convention 189 (the ILO’s Domestic Workers Convention). In the case of Mexico, where our rights are not recognised and the laws are quite bad, we are demanding full ratification. We’ve been advocating for ratification in Mexico for six years.</p><p> <img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/951371165_205a3e3e67_o_0.jpg" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">♒ ♒ ♒ ♒ /flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p>The government has yet to do it, and our union is negotiating in a more direct way with employers so that they can begin to acknowledge our rights. We’ve created a collective labour contract that employers can sign and that formalises these rights in a contractual relationship. I am calling for my government in Mexico to ratify it. Of the 183 countries that have signed the agreement, only 24 have ratified it. Therefore, I believe it is very important that we call for all governments to abide by the agreement, since our work is so important to society at large. </p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): Why is this struggle important for other workers? </strong></p> <p><strong>Marcelina:</strong> I think that unity among workers is very important. Domestic workers are not the only ones that have a hard time gaining recognition of their rights. Unity among struggles is also important, since our sector includes migrant workers, child workers and indigenous women. It should be essential for all working people to have a right to just and dignified employment.</p><p><b>Neil (oD): Is there anything you would like to add?</b></p><p><b>Marcelina:</b> I’m calling on all my fellow domestic workers&nbsp; to join our struggle to dignify our labour. I am also asking employers to recognise our labour, which should be granted the same rights as any other form of work.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARISSA BEGONIA<br />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VICKY KANYOKA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MYRTLE WITBOOI</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">RUTH KHAKAME</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LULU OMAR</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">MARÍA ROA,&nbsp;ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LOURDES ALBÁN</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ok-seop-shim/let-s-write-contract-and-call-me-house-manager-experiences-of-workers-coo">Let’s write a contract and call me house manager: experiences of a workers’ cooperative</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">OK-SEOP SHIM</span></p><hr /><p> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lana/from-runaway-domestic-worker-to-organiser-in-singapore">From runaway domestic worker to organiser in Singapore</a><br /><span style="font-size: 90%;">LANA</span></p><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Marcelina Bautista Fri, 02 Feb 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Marcelina Bautista 113518 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Home: a black hole for workers’ rights https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/fish-ip-neil-howard/home-black-hole-for-workers-rights <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Why are governments and populations so resistant to treating cleaners and carers as workers?</p> </div> </div> </div> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/meNHWijBr_4?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p>My name is <strong>Fish Ip</strong>, and I'm the regional coordinator for Asia for the International Domestic Workers Federation. I used to be a union organiser for local and migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong, and in all I’ve worked with domestic workers for almost 20 years.</p> <p>As the IDWF regional coordinator, we try as much as possible to assist our affiliate domestic workers, organisations, and unions. If they can form a union then we assist them in doing so, and then support them to organise and advocate to change the law.</p> <p>In Asia, we still have a lot of challenges. Not all workers can form a union recognised by the government, and we still have not only labour exploitation but severe human rights exploitation – domestic workers being locked at home or being beaten up or raped, for example. </p> <p>Many also do not enjoy any holidays, which raises the questions of how to organise them and how to reach out. How can leaders get them to know their rights, get them to be assertive, get them to come to the union, get them to be visible in the community and also to the government of the country? We still have a lot to do to change the law and to make it possible for domestic workers to come out –&nbsp;to not be locked inside the home but to come out and to assert their voice.</p> <p class="mag-quote-right">Working at home is to be on standby 24 hours a day for whoever in the family calls on you to do something.</p> <p><strong>Neil Howard (oD): And what would be necessary to improve working conditions for domestic workers in your region?</strong></p> <p><strong>Fish:</strong> Very basic, basic human rights. To have the freedom of moving around, to have holidays. Once you are locked in, you are like in jail. You work every day. Working at home is to be on standby 24 hours a day for whoever in the family calls on you to do something. We have domestic workers who cannot sleep or just sleep two, three hours per day. </p> <p>The problem is that, for employers, once you are not being monitored, and once you have nobody watching you from outside, you will abuse your authority. This is why domestic workers face such physical abuse – because nobody watches what the employers in private households do. </p> <p>So we must open this understanding. Working in a private household is not that private. Once someone hires a worker, the employer need to be watched to make sure that they follow the law. That they are not abusing their authority. The government should be able to reach into the homes to monitor the situation</p> <p>Once everyone is being watched, like on the street, they will behave. We need domestic workers to have holidays. Everybody needs to have eight hours sleep. Everybody needs to have some rest every week. These are just normal human rights, but we are not enjoying them. So this must be changed.</p><p> <iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/7QRhYMiuZoo?rel=0&amp;showinfo=0" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): Can you tell me why the government does not currently watch the workers, watch the employers, and enforce these rights?</strong></p> <p><strong>Fish:</strong> We still have too much traditional thinking in our heads. Many people, including government officials, are employers of domestic workers. They still feel that these women or girls or boys, they are someone from the poor country. They have they feeling that ‘I'm accommodating them, I'm giving them food, I’m helping them.’ They still have this kind of feeling. </p> <p>All of them say, ‘I'm a good employer’, even though they are abusing their workers. This patriarchal, traditional thinking is still so much in our mind. This is so strong that they don't feel domestic workers are workers. They feel domestic workers are like a younger brother, younger sister, or girls from our relatives, or from somewhere. They feel like they’re accommodating them. ‘I'm giving them salary. They have a place to sleep. They have food to eat. So we are treating them well’. Yet sometimes they are only giving them accommodation.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): There's a lack of recognition.</strong></p> <p><strong>Fish:</strong> It's a lack of recognition on domestic workers as workers. They see see them as somebody whom they are assisting.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): So could you also tell us a little bit about why the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 189 on domestic workers is so important when it comes to recognition, or when it comes to rights?</strong></p> <p><strong>Fish:</strong> The convention on domestic workers is important, first, because it makes up an an international norm. One which says, ‘domestic workers are workers. Domestic workers should enjoy equal rights with other types of workers’. This was really for the first time, in 2011, that such a message was asserted internationally. So when we tell employers and everybody that we should have our rights, we can use this convention to say: ‘this is an international norm, recognised internationally, and adopted at the International Labor Conference by employers, governments and workers' unions. If you are not following them, then you are not recognising these international norms. We should catch up. We should not lag behind. We should not be so backward in our old traditional thinking.’</p> <p>This convention also works to bring everybody together to discuss the issue of domestic workers, including unions and governments. So once we can get people to come together, we can discuss the entire law. Employers will say, ‘Oh my worker is this, is that. She does not understand our requirements or our demands’. We can discuss. No worries. We can discuss how we should be behaved, how we can respect each other, how we can recognise each other's rights. We can discuss.</p><p> <img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/5398599691_95e384a41c_o.jpg" /><span style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Andy Magee/flickr.&nbsp;</span><a style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;" href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/">(CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)</a></p><p>So, the convention brings the opportunity for people to come and discuss, and also it helps to bring in and document best practices within national law and policy. So many governments still are saying that, ‘we cannot make the law and policy, there is this problem and that problem…’ But we are demonstrating that there are countries who have increased protections for domestic workers, and that through protecting domestic workers' rights governments can it can ensure the economic equality and human rights equality for the country. So it's good for the country.</p> <p><strong>Neil (oD): That it’s good for everybody.</strong></p> <p><strong>Fish:</strong> Yes, for everybody. So we can demonstrate best practices. The other thing, and also the most important, is using the convention to bring up the voices and visibility of domestic workers. To allow domestic workers to speak out for themselves and to make use of this convention as a tool. With a convention, with an international standard, they can be more confident when speaking with the government, when speaking with their employers. This is something to start with. We can start the conversation. Let's start. </p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/giulia-garofalo-geymonat-sabrina-marchetti/global-landscape-of-voices-for-labour-right">Domestic workers speak: a global landscape of voices for labour rights and social recognition</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">GIULIA GAROFALO GEYMONAT<BR />SABRINA MARCHETTI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ai-jen-poo/out-from-shadows-domestic-workers-speak-in-united-states">Out from the shadows: domestic workers speak in the United States</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">AI-JEN POO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/zita-cabais-obra/and-we-continue-to-meet-domestic-workers-stand-up-in-france">“And we continue to meet”: domestic workers stand up in France</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ZITA CABAIS-OBRA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/pina-brustolin-raffaella-maioni/chapter-of-our-shared-history-from-servants-to-domesti">A chapter of our shared history: from servants to domestic workers in Italy</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RAFFAELLA MAIONI<BR />PINA BRUSTOLIN</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/charito-basa-rosalud-dela-rosa-dona-rose-dela-cruz-aubrey-abarintos/from-personal-to-p">From personal to political, and back: the story of the Filipino Women’s Council</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">CHARITO BASA, ROSALUD DELA ROSA, DONA ROSE DELA CRUZ, AUBREY ABARINTOS</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marissa-begonia-penelope-kyritsis/justice-for-domestic-workers-it-s-about-rights-not-p">Justice for domestic workers: it’s about rights, not protection</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARISSA BEGONIA<BR />PENELOPE KYRITSIS</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/migrant-domestic-workers-network-fnv/werk-woorden-words-of-labour">Werk woorden - Words of labour</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MIGRANT DOMESTIC WORKERS NETWORK FNV</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ana-carolina-el-as-espinoza/our-subaltern-position-is-determined-by-law-struggle-for-v">“Our subaltern position is determined by the law!”: the struggle for visibility in Spain</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">ANA CAROLINA ELÍAS ESPINOZA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/vicky-kanyoka/organising-domestic-workers-across-africa-regional-view">Organising domestic workers across Africa: a regional view</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VICKY KANYOKA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/myrtle-witbooi/domestic-work-is-decent-work">Domestic work is decent work</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MYRTLE WITBOOI</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/ruth-khakame/my-experience-as-domestic-worker-union-leader-in-nairobi">My experience as a domestic worker union leader in Nairobi</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">RUTH KHAKAME</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lulu-omar/story-of-domestic-worker-in-africa-migrant-unionist-and-community-leader">Story of a domestic worker in Africa: migrant, unionist and community leader</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LULU OMAR</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/marcelina-bautista/work-is-not-undignified-but-how-you-treat-domestic-workers-is">The work is not undignified, but how you treat domestic workers is</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARCELINA BAUTISTA</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/mar-roa-ana-teresa-v-lez-andrea-londo-o/how-do-we-make-labour-rights-real">How do we make labour rights real?</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">MARÍA ROA, ANA TERESA VÉLEZ, ANDREA LONDOŃO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/lourdes-alb-n/few-steps-forward-still-long-way-to-go-old-issues-new-movements">“A few steps forward, still a long way to go”: old issues, new movements</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">LOURDES ALBÁN</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/himaya-montenegro-verna-dinah-q-viajar/filipino-kasambahay-s-long-struggle-against-inv">The Filipino Kasambahay’s long struggle against invisibility</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">VERNA DINAH Q. VIAJAR<br />HIMAYA MONTENEGRO</span><hr /> <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/dws/phobsuk-gasing-dang-bobo-lai-wan-po-fish-ip/when-local-and-migrant-domestic-workers-fi">When local and migrant domestic workers fight together</a><br /><span style="font-size:90%;">PHOBSUK GASING (DANG), BOBO LAI-WAN PO, FISH IP</span><hr /> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Neil Howard Fish Ip Wed, 31 Jan 2018 08:00:00 +0000 Fish Ip and Neil Howard 115734 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Allies or co-conspirators: what does the domestic workers’ movement need? https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilana-berger/allies-or-co-conspirators-what-does-domestic-workers-movement-need <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Improving labour conditions within individual work relationships is not enough. We need to strive for systemic change in the care industry.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!--DEBATE BOX --> <style><!-- #debatemain {padding-top:5px;margin-bottom:0px;padding-bottom:0px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-right:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;} #debatebox { margin-top: 0; padding: 0; display: flex; } #convenor { padding: 0px 20px; width:40%; } #respondents { width:60%; top: 0; padding: 0px 20px; border-left:1px solid #EDEDED; } .participant {font-size:100%;} .affil {font-size:90%;font-style: italic;color: #999;} .rspacing {margin:10px 0px;line-height:100%;} --></style> <div id="debatemain"> <p style="background-color: #ededed; border-top: 3px solid #0061BF; color: #000000; font-size: 120%; font-weight: 400; margin: 0; padding: 10px 20px;">Policy debate</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; color: #cf0a2c; font-weight: bold; font-size: 110%;">Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; font-size: 90%;">We asked experts in the field of domestic workers' rights to respond to the following: <span style="color: #cf0a2c;">'Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?'</span> This is what they answered.</p> <div id="debatebox"> <div id="convenor"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Convenors </p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/sabrina-marchetti">Sabrina Marchetti</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/giulia-garofalo-geymonat">Giulia Garofalo Geymonat</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/eileen-boris">Eileen Boris</a> &amp; <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/jennifer-fish">Jennifer Fish</a></span></p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><br /></span></p> <p class="participant">Introduction:&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sabrina-marchetti-giulia-garofalo-geymonat-eileen-boris-jennifer-fish/beyond-maids-and-madams-can-em">Beyond ‘maids and madams’: can employers be allies in new policies for domestic workers’ rights?</a></p> </div> <div id="respondents"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Respondents</p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/claire-hobden-moriah-shumpert/win-win-scenario-fight-for-domestic-workers-rights-benef">Claire Hobden &amp; Moriah Shumpert</a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Labour Organization</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lucero-herrera-saba-waheed/dispelling-myths-why-domestic-employer-worker-solidarity-is">Saba Waheed &amp; Lucero Herrera</a></span><br /><span class="affil">UCLA Labor Center</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bridget-anderson/understanding-interpersonal-and-structural-context-of-domestic-work">Bridget Anderson</a></span><br /><span class="affil">University of Bristol</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/andrea-londo-o/allies-or-obstacles-role-of-domestic-employers-in-colombia">Andrea Londoño</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Fundación Bien Humano</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elizabeth-tang-marie-jos-l-tayah/it-takes-two-to-tango-how-employers-can-help-formalis">Elizabeth Tang &amp; Marie-José L. Tayah </a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Domestic Workers Federation</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julius-cainglet-ronahlee-asuncion/potential-avenues-for-domestic-employer-worker-solid">Julius Cainglet &amp; Ronahlee Asuncion</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Federation of Free Workers &amp; University of Philippines Diliman</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rosa-navarro-mechtild-hart/beyond-individual-responsibility-what-domestic-employers-ne">Rosa Navarro &amp; Mechtild Hart</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Latino Union &amp; DePaul University</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilana-berger/allies-or-co-conspirators-what-does-domestic-workers-movement-need">Ilana Berger</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Hand in Hand</span></p> </div> </div> </div><div></div> <!-- END DEBATE BOX --> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/4Z1B2643.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Photo by Jennifer N. Fish.</span></p><p>Are ‘allies’ really what the domestic workers movement needs? Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter co-founder and Special Projects Director at the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), prefers the term ‘co-conspirator’.</p> <p>“Co-conspiracy is about what we do in action, not just in language,” <a href="https://www.movetoendviolence.org/blog/ally-co-conspirator-means-act-insolidarity/">says Garza</a>. “It is about moving through guilt and shame and recognising that we did not create none of this stuff. And so what we are taking responsibility for is the power that we hold to transform our conditions.”</p> <p class="Body">Garza is asking us to recognise a power dynamic and to want to fix it, as opposed to stewing in guilt. As employers of domestic workers, we are participating in a system that is fundamentally unjust, so we must own it and work to change it.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">For employers to be allies, or co-conspirators, they must begin by acknowledging multiple truths. First, that the domestic work industry in the United States is directly connected to the legacy of slavery; white supremacy and patriarchy are deeply ingrained in the structure of the industry.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Second, that without domestic workers, many of us would not be able live our lives. Whether it means childcare to help manage our work and family needs, or a home care to allow our parent to age in place with dignity, we need domestic workers. Part of the work at Hand in Hand: The Domestic Employers Network (HIH) is to support employers in participating in the industry in a way that seeks to improve conditions for workers and at best, in transforming the industry – to be co-conspirators.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Whether it means childcare to help manage our work and family needs, or a home care to allow our parent to age in place with dignity, we need domestic workers.</p> <p class="Body">HIH is a national network of employers of nannies, housecleaners, home attendants and family caregivers who believe that dignified and respectful working conditions benefit workers and employers alike. In collaboration with local domestic worker organisations and our core partners the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) and Caring Across Generations (CAG), we are elevating a shared vision of what care and support in the home should look like for workers and employers, and of a society that takes care of all of us. To get there, we support employers in improving their employment practices and to collaborate with workers to create cultural norms and policies that bring dignity and respect to domestic workers and all our communities.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Our ‘special sauce’ is our core grounding in interdependence. This is especially relevant in a time when the dominant narrative coming down from highest levels of government is one of toxic individuality.</p> <p class="Body">In an industry that by definition happens ‘behind closed doors’, passing legislation is not enough to improve labour conditions for domestic workers. While campaigns to pass the Domestic Workers Bills of Rights in seven states were historic victories for hundreds of thousands of domestic workers, implementation remains a challenge, and thus day-to-day working conditions across the industry have not changed substantially. Full realisation of fair and dignified workplace conditions depends on workers’ awareness of their rights and employers’ awareness of their obligations. Public education about the relevant laws has been limited and at this stage falls largely on the shoulders of community-based organisations. In most cases, domestic workers remain isolated and employers still set the terms of employment.</p> <p class="Body">This is why HIH began a public education and outreach campaign: My Home is Someone’s Workplace (MHSW) has worked to support the implementation of Domestic Workers Bills of Rights. It aims to 1) ensure the implementation of all minimum legal standards on the books and expanded through Bills of Rights and 2) promote high-road ‘community standards’ that establish norms beyond legal standards and represent our movement’s vision of the best domestic workplace labour practices.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">MHSW is an intensive, high-visibility, community-targeted campaign to&nbsp;capitalise on the continuing momentum generated by the&nbsp;Bill of Rights victories&nbsp;around the country.&nbsp;Through MHSW, we hope to develop a&nbsp;replicable&nbsp;model for leveraging the visibility of these legislative initiatives, which are spotlighting the long-neglected domestic workplace.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">Through this campaign, employers are encouraged to acknowledge that their homes are, indeed, workplaces and to move away from referring to domestic workers as ‘like family’ – a paradigm shift that provides a necessary entry point for the implementation of higher standards. In order to be successful in the struggle&nbsp;for&nbsp;a fair domestic work industry, HIH must go ‘beyond the choir’ and draw in more employers than ever before.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">The biggest limitation of so much of our MHSW work so far has been that it doesn’t change the power structure: it relies on individual employers to do the right thing, but doesn’t equalise the power dynamic between employers and workers on an industry scale. Additionally, it can be limiting for employers who actually can’t afford to pay more, and who are struggling to manage to pay for the care they already receive. Despite the myth that domestic employers are white and wealthy, <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lucero-herrera-saba-waheed/dispelling-myths-why-domestic-employer-worker-solidarity-is">employers are a much more diverse group than we think</a>, and well-paid care is simply not affordable for the vast majority of employers.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">We see efforts to expand affordability as critical to the implementation of important policy wins including state domestic worker bills of rights.</p> <p class="Body">Thus, even if every employer had the full information and desire to implement fair wages and conditions for their domestic workers, this aspiration would still not be fully achievable because of a systemic problem in how we both value and pay for care. Individual employers should not have to shoulder the burden resulting from the lack of a comprehensive care infrastructure to support families ― and neither should domestic workers. Therefore, in addition to our education work, HIH is engaged in campaigns to transform the care industry so that all kinds of care throughout the life spectrum are affordable and accessible to all those who need it. We see efforts to expand affordability as critical to the implementation of important policy wins including state domestic worker bills of rights.</p> <p class="Body">Therefore, HIH is organising employers to expand the access and affordability of care, with a particular focus on long-term care and support for seniors and people with disabilities in California and New York, while laying the foundation for longer-term campaigns to transform the sector into one that universally supports the care needs of all families. As with healthcare reform, and so many other issues, the first state policy breakthrough expands the realm of what is possible.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Body">After the 2016 election, HIH staff and leaders began to think about how people who employ domestic workers, the majority of whom are women of color and immigrants, can support immigrants and other populations targeted by this administration. We created and disseminated the<a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iM696_2aZGSwV-UpmSgBC_uQgFpY4Vu1T1lg-sXgyR8/edit"> </a><a href="https://docs.google.com/document/d/1iM696_2aZGSwV-UpmSgBC_uQgFpY4Vu1T1lg-sXgyR8/edit">Post Election Tips for Employers</a>, which was shared and viewed by thousands of people. After speaking with our employer members, as well as partners and allies representing frontline communities including the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA), Cosecha, Mijente, Make the Road NY, and The California Domestic Workers Coalition, we launched our Sanctuary Homes campaign in partnership with NDWA (#SanctuaryHomes).</p> <p class="Body">Participation in an industry that is so connected to slavery and white supremacy is complicated – but we believe that employers can, indeed, be allies, or co-conspirators, through changing their individual employment practices and in partnership with workers organising to transform the industry and our society. &nbsp;In our work, we continue to model core values of interdependence and accessibility, and aim to shift the culture of the movement and our communities toward these shared values.&nbsp;</p> <p class="blockquote-new">For purposes of this article we use ‘employers’ loosely. We include in this category people who have home care workers, even if those workers are paid through an agency, Medicaid or other public dollars, so consumer may not be directly paying the worker.&nbsp;</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div style="width: 120px; float: right; padding-left: 10px; border-left: 1px solid #DDD; border-bottom: 1px solid #DDD; margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/DWScover_460.jpg" width="120" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px; font-size: 90%;"><strong>'Domestic workers speak: a global fight for rights and recognition'</strong> showcases the diversity and power of the domestic workers' rights movement. Featuring contributions from 23 worker-led groups, it details the struggle of domestic workers, explores their solidarity and methods of resistance, and calls for comprehensive rights for the world's most invisible workforce.<br /><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing">Free PDF download</a></strong></span></div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Ilana Berger Tue, 30 Jan 2018 22:19:46 +0000 Ilana Berger 115864 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Beyond individual responsibility: what domestic employers need to know https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rosa-navarro-mechtild-hart/beyond-individual-responsibility-what-domestic-employers-ne <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Household employers need to understand the roots of their asymmetrical work relationships before they can be allies in the domestic worker struggle.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!--DEBATE BOX --> <style><!-- #debatemain {padding-top:5px;margin-bottom:0px;padding-bottom:0px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-right:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;} #debatebox { margin-top: 0; padding: 0; display: flex; } #convenor { padding: 0px 20px; width:40%; } #respondents { width:60%; top: 0; padding: 0px 20px; border-left:1px solid #EDEDED; } .participant {font-size:100%;} .affil {font-size:90%;font-style: italic;color: #999;} .rspacing {margin:10px 0px;line-height:100%;} --></style> <div id="debatemain"> <p style="background-color: #ededed; border-top: 3px solid #0061BF; color: #000000; font-size: 120%; font-weight: 400; margin: 0; padding: 10px 20px;">Policy debate</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; color: #cf0a2c; font-weight: bold; font-size: 110%;">Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; font-size: 90%;">We asked experts in the field of domestic workers' rights to respond to the following: <span style="color: #cf0a2c;">'Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?'</span> This is what they answered.</p> <div id="debatebox"> <div id="convenor"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Convenors </p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/sabrina-marchetti">Sabrina Marchetti</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/giulia-garofalo-geymonat">Giulia Garofalo Geymonat</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/eileen-boris">Eileen Boris</a> &amp; <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/jennifer-fish">Jennifer Fish</a></span></p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><br /></span></p> <p class="participant">Introduction:&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sabrina-marchetti-giulia-garofalo-geymonat-eileen-boris-jennifer-fish/beyond-maids-and-madams-can-em">Beyond ‘maids and madams’: can employers be allies in new policies for domestic workers’ rights?</a></p> </div> <div id="respondents"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Respondents</p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/claire-hobden-moriah-shumpert/win-win-scenario-fight-for-domestic-workers-rights-benef">Claire Hobden &amp; Moriah Shumpert</a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Labour Organization</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lucero-herrera-saba-waheed/dispelling-myths-why-domestic-employer-worker-solidarity-is">Saba Waheed &amp; Lucero Herrera</a></span><br /><span class="affil">UCLA Labor Center</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bridget-anderson/understanding-interpersonal-and-structural-context-of-domestic-work">Bridget Anderson</a></span><br /><span class="affil">University of Bristol</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/andrea-londo-o/allies-or-obstacles-role-of-domestic-employers-in-colombia">Andrea Londoño</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Fundación Bien Humano</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elizabeth-tang-marie-jos-l-tayah/it-takes-two-to-tango-how-employers-can-help-formalis">Elizabeth Tang &amp; Marie-José L. Tayah </a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Domestic Workers Federation</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julius-cainglet-ronahlee-asuncion/potential-avenues-for-domestic-employer-worker-solid">Julius Cainglet &amp; Ronahlee Asuncion</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Federation of Free Workers &amp; University of Philippines Diliman</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rosa-navarro-mechtild-hart/beyond-individual-responsibility-what-domestic-employers-ne">Rosa Navarro &amp; Mechtild Hart</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Latino Union &amp; DePaul University</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilana-berger/allies-or-co-conspirators-what-does-domestic-workers-movement-need">Ilana Berger</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Hand in Hand</span></p> </div> </div> </div><div></div> <!-- END DEBATE BOX --> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/8594741545_9b2e526b0d_o.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">peoplesworld/flickr.&nbsp;<a href="https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/">(CC BY-NC 2.0)</a></span></p><p>Household worker experiences will always speak to the power dynamics in their relationship with their employers. We need to acknowledge that these dynamics are primarily rooted in the historical connection between gendered household work, or ‘women’s work’, and slavery in the United States. As an organisation <a href="https://www.latinounion.org/">Latino Union of Chicago</a> strives to support low-wage workers to fight against unjust laws and policies that exclude them. We work to defend the rights and dignity of contingent workers, including the right to immigrate, work, live free of oppression and violence, and provide for oneself and one's family. We have been fighting alongside household workers in Chicago since 2010.</p> <p>In the current political moment, household workers are especially vulnerable to abuse. The majority of household workers are women of color, immigrant and US born. They are some of the most exploitable workers, and they work in homes where they are invisible. While Black women no longer make up the majority of household workers, they still face the same discrimination. Over coffee, a Black immigrant nanny from Jamaica told one of us that she has to watch how she talks and dresses at her employer’s home. She does not wear nice clothes or jewellery, or bring expensive purses to work. Her white employers clearly do not feel comfortable with a Black immigrant woman presenting herself as someone on their socio-economic level. She is therefore relegated to “the help”. With such a mind-set, how could her employer become her ally? </p> <p>A Black immigrant nanny from Belize confessed to us over lunch that she had to eat quickly so that she could make it to her employers’ house by noon, since they were returning home from a long weekend trip. “You know how they are” she said, “have to be there by the time they get home”. Two months ago upon first meeting with us, this same woman told us, “I have a great family I work for, I can't complain”. The tone of her voice, though, implied that there were other dynamics she wasn’t comfortable sharing.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Their relationship with their employer is purely transactional.</p> <p>Most of the women we work with are undocumented Latinx women, and most are house cleaners. They have between four to ten employers at any given time and their relationship with their employer is purely transactional. They go in, clean, leave, and go to the next employer’s home. Most of them do not know their employer's’ full name, their occupation, or any personal details. Likewise, most employers seem to not know, or want to know, anything about the workers themselves, except that they come, clean, and leave.&nbsp;</p> <p>The workers we work with can also never expect reliable and consistent employment. Not only is it rare for the housecleaners to have the same employer for more than a year to two, they also face the risk of being dismissed with only a few days’ notice, therefore losing income they were depending on. There is no safety net for household cleaners despite the passage of a Bill of Rights in Illinois in August 2016 because they were not included in the law. House Cleaners were excluded from the Bill of Rights because the focus was around nannies and caregivers who have a single employer and work full-time. The rights that were enshrined in the Bill of Rights were minimal: they included the right to minimum wage, the right to one day of rest within a seven week day (for in-house caregivers), and protection against pregnancy discrimination and sexual harassment. It is important to note that the Bill of Rights was started by a group of household workers at Latino Union. Over the process of a five-year long struggle, it was co-opted by unions, other non-profits, and policy groups. By the end, it was non-profits that were celebrating their victory, not household workers. They were left out of the discussions and negotiations, they never had a seat at the table.</p> <p>Employers who hire workers for childcare often ignore that the nanny might have her own children that she must to leave in the care of a family member or her own childcare worker, so she can take care of her employer’s children. They rarely consider transportation costs, or the time it takes to travel from a distant neighbourhood to the employer’s house. Most of our members spend roughly 40 minutes to an hour traveling to their employer’s home, often having to use several public transit services.</p><p>These examples come from only a few of the stories we have heard from the workers who come to our organisation. It is difficult to imagine how employers – who often do not care enough to know <em>who</em> is cleaning their homes – can be considered possible allies for household workers. What about employers who fill their own “care deficit” by employing a nanny about whose struggle to find childcare for her own children is of no interest to them? What about the employers who threaten their workers with deportation if they do not accept mistreatment or low pay?</p> <p>Most household workers do not have a written contract, just a verbal promise of pay and hours expected of them. It’s an informal industry with no regulation, made even more difficult to regulate since the workplace is the employer’s home. Given these circumstances, how can we ask employers who employ household workers in the privacy of their homes to become allies without first talking about how to regulate the industry? And how do we hold employers accountable? Can they actually be real allies when most household workers in the country do not have basic labour law protections?</p><p>Household workers do the work that is often referred to as “the work that makes all other work possible”. But to us, that slogan should really say that household workers are women who perform work so that other women can become successful. And which women are we talking about? We are talking about privileged women, who are mostly white and upper middle class. We are talking about a group of women of whom <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/10/opinion/white-women-voted-trump-now-what.html">53% voted for Trump in 2016</a>. Can we trust them to be allies to mostly working class, immigrant women?&nbsp;</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Becoming a political ally means employers holding themselves accountable for their own power and privileges.</p><p>Some employers may realise that they have full responsibility for seeing and treating employees with dignity and respect, although this sentiment comes more out of a sense of moral responsibility than from a desire to act as a political ally. Becoming a political ally means employers holding themselves accountable for their own power and privileges, and generating from these advantages resources for a movement carried by the workers themselves. Based on years of experiences as organisers, we know that no movement can sustain itself without the daily work of organisations that create a safe space for the workers to their stories of abuse and exploitation. Employer allies could use their resources to appeal to other employers, and perhaps even form their own social justice organisations. But their desire to make changes has to come from the experiences and demands of the workers themselves.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/DWScover_460.jpg" width="120" /></a><br /><span><strong>'Domestic workers speak: a global fight for rights and recognition'</strong> showcases the diversity and power of the domestic workers' rights movement. Featuring contributions from 23 worker-led groups, it details the struggle of domestic workers, explores their solidarity and methods of resistance, and calls for comprehensive rights for the world's most invisible workforce.<br /><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing">Free PDF download</a></strong></span></div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Mechtild Hart Rosa Navarro Tue, 30 Jan 2018 22:19:13 +0000 Rosa Navarro and Mechtild Hart 115780 at https://www.opendemocracy.net Potential avenues for domestic employer-worker solidarity in the Philippines https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julius-cainglet-ronahlee-asuncion/potential-avenues-for-domestic-employer-worker-solid <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>From passive observers to active members in the fight for domestic workers rights, domestic employers in the Philippines may have gone a long way, but more work needs to be done.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!--DEBATE BOX --> <style><!-- #debatemain {padding-top:5px;margin-bottom:0px;padding-bottom:0px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-right:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;} #debatebox { margin-top: 0; padding: 0; display: flex; } #convenor { padding: 0px 20px; width:40%; } #respondents { width:60%; top: 0; padding: 0px 20px; border-left:1px solid #EDEDED; } .participant {font-size:100%;} .affil {font-size:90%;font-style: italic;color: #999;} .rspacing {margin:10px 0px;line-height:100%;} --></style> <div id="debatemain"> <p style="background-color: #ededed; border-top: 3px solid #0061BF; color: #000000; font-size: 120%; font-weight: 400; margin: 0; padding: 10px 20px;">Policy debate</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; color: #cf0a2c; font-weight: bold; font-size: 110%;">Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; font-size: 90%;">We asked experts in the field of domestic workers' rights to respond to the following: <span style="color: #cf0a2c;">'Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?'</span> This is what they answered.</p> <div id="debatebox"> <div id="convenor"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Convenors </p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/sabrina-marchetti">Sabrina Marchetti</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/giulia-garofalo-geymonat">Giulia Garofalo Geymonat</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/eileen-boris">Eileen Boris</a> &amp; <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/jennifer-fish">Jennifer Fish</a></span></p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><br /></span></p> <p class="participant">Introduction:&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sabrina-marchetti-giulia-garofalo-geymonat-eileen-boris-jennifer-fish/beyond-maids-and-madams-can-em">Beyond ‘maids and madams’: can employers be allies in new policies for domestic workers’ rights?</a></p> </div> <div id="respondents"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Respondents</p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/claire-hobden-moriah-shumpert/win-win-scenario-fight-for-domestic-workers-rights-benef">Claire Hobden &amp; Moriah Shumpert</a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Labour Organization</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lucero-herrera-saba-waheed/dispelling-myths-why-domestic-employer-worker-solidarity-is">Saba Waheed &amp; Lucero Herrera</a></span><br /><span class="affil">UCLA Labor Center</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bridget-anderson/understanding-interpersonal-and-structural-context-of-domestic-work">Bridget Anderson</a></span><br /><span class="affil">University of Bristol</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/andrea-londo-o/allies-or-obstacles-role-of-domestic-employers-in-colombia">Andrea Londoño</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Fundación Bien Humano</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elizabeth-tang-marie-jos-l-tayah/it-takes-two-to-tango-how-employers-can-help-formalis">Elizabeth Tang &amp; Marie-José L. Tayah </a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Domestic Workers Federation</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julius-cainglet-ronahlee-asuncion/potential-avenues-for-domestic-employer-worker-solid">Julius Cainglet &amp; Ronahlee Asuncion</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Federation of Free Workers &amp; University of Philippines Diliman</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rosa-navarro-mechtild-hart/beyond-individual-responsibility-what-domestic-employers-ne">Rosa Navarro &amp; Mechtild Hart</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Latino Union &amp; DePaul University</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilana-berger/allies-or-co-conspirators-what-does-domestic-workers-movement-need">Ilana Berger</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Hand in Hand</span></p> </div> </div> </div><div></div> <!-- END DEBATE BOX --> <p><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/4Z1B1091%20%281%29.jpg" alt="" width="100%" /><span class="image-caption">Photo by Jennifer N. Fish.</span></p><p class="Normal1">There are close to two million domestic workers in the Philippines, yet most labour laws in the country explicitly exclude domestic workers in their coverage. After the establishment of a minimum wage law for domestic workers in the 90s, it took decades before another special law was passed for them.</p> <p class="Normal1">Republic Act No. 10361 (or Batas Kasambahay) was enacted on January 2013 for the protection and welfare of domestic workers in the country. It provides for minimum wage rates that may be increased periodically, mandatory social protection coverage, weekly days off, and written contracts of employment, among others. However, it has been five years since this law was passed and Filipino domestic workers still face the same problems and issues, such as payment below the minimum wage; excessive work hours; working at night; the non-coverage of social protection; and the non-application of domestic work laws for live-out domestic workers.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Normal1">At the end of the day, it is employers who pay domestic workers, determine their work hours, provide social protections, and carry the responsibility to adhere to domestic work and labour laws. This then raises the question of whether employers can be allies in the struggle for the rights of domestic workers.</p> <p class="Normal1">Employers need to start with changing the way domestic work is perceived. There is little respect and dignity (if at all) accorded to this profession. Paid domestic work is often taken for granted and perceived as work for unskilled workers. Traditional social norms reinforce these perceptions and shape the way employers think about domestic work. Paid domestic work is usually performed by women who have not completed primary or secondary school education and who come from poor families in the provinces. In ‘<a href="http://www.ilo.org/wcmsp5/groups/public/@dgreports/@gender/documents/%20publication/wcms_142905.pdf">Moving Towards Decent Work for Domestic Workers: An Overview of the ILO’s Work</a>’, D’Souza explains the ‘atypical’ employment relationship between domestic workers and employers due to the invisible nature of domestic work; the unequal balance of power between employers and workers; the prevalence of paternalist attitudes across the board; the lack of precise job descriptions; and the expectation that domestic workers should obey their employers’ orders at all times.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">Employers cannot be allies in the fight for domestic workers’ rights unless they truly believe that their workers deserve these rights in the first place.</p> <p class="Normal1">It should come at no surprise then, that changing the mindset of employers towards recognising the immense value of domestic labour to the overall well-being of the employer’s family is a crucial first step for domestic employer-worker solidarity. Employers cannot be allies in the fight for domestic workers’ rights unless they truly believe that their workers deserve these rights in the first place.&nbsp;</p> <p class="Normal1">Employers, at least in the Philippines, have been known to change their mind for the better. Back in 2011, when the possibility of adopting labour standards for domestic work was raised anew at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, employers from the Employers Confederation of the Philippines (ECOP) were inclined to support a mere non-binding recommendation. The following year, however, employers – with much prodding from trade unions, civil society organisations and domestic workers themselves – changed their position to support a binding convention. This was partly because trade unions made them realise that respecting the rights of domestic workers in the Philippines would give the country the needed leverage to demand respect and care for the rights of Filipino domestic workers abroad. Hence, the employers supported a tripartite Philippine position on the establishment of a new Convention. Getting employers to agree with trade unions was crucial since the government of the Philippines was chair of the ILO Committee deliberating on new labour standards for domestic work. The knowledge that it had the support of both trade unions and employers enabled the government to steer the discussion towards a much needed international convention on domestic work. This later became ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers.</p> <p class="Normal1">The government of the Philippines also has the responsibility to ensure that the rights of domestic workers are protected domestically. Labour laws in require the labour inspection of enterprises for adherence to general labour standards and occupational safety and health standards. However, employers invoke that their homes – where domestic workers perform their work – are private homes, not enterprises, and should therefore not subjected to labour inspections. But the reality is that their homes are the workplaces of domestic workers. Employers should welcome labour inspectors in their residences, especially if the labour inspectors are acting on a complaint.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The reality is that their homes are the workplaces of domestic workers.</p> <p class="Normal1">It is encouraging that in the Philippines, employers who once relegated themselves as mere observers to the Philippine Campaign to Promote Decent Work for Domestic Workers Technical Working Group (Domestic Work TWG) took on full membership before the ILO’s adoption of C189, and eventually took a secretariat role in the same, several years later. Among others, the Domestic Work TWG that also includes trade unions such as the Federation of Free Workers, Sentro and Trade Union Congress of the Philippines; and domestic workers’ groups such as United and Taumbahay successfully campaigned for the ratification of C189 in the Philippines in 2012 and the enactment of Batas Kasambahay in early 2013.</p> <p class="Normal1">The Philippines is also a signatory to ILO Convention 144 on Tripartite Consultations and even enacted a law on Tripartism, ensuring that the government always consults with both workers and employers when discussing labour and employment laws and policies. This definitely includes domestic work, and offers an important avenue for domestic employer-worker solidarity.</p> <p class="Normal1">In the end, employers are in a unique position to ensure that the rights of domestic workers are protected. Given the right conditions and an enabling environment such as ease in registering domestic workers with social protection institutions and paying for their premiums; systematic registering with the local government as provided by law; and a culture that completely disengages domestic work from its roots in slavery, this could be done. Decent work for all workers is everyone’s responsibility.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/DWScover_460.jpg" width="120" /></a><br /><span><strong>'Domestic workers speak: a global fight for rights and recognition'</strong> showcases the diversity and power of the domestic workers' rights movement. Featuring contributions from 23 worker-led groups, it details the struggle of domestic workers, explores their solidarity and methods of resistance, and calls for comprehensive rights for the world's most invisible workforce.<br /><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing">Free PDF download</a></strong></span></div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Ronahlee Asuncion Julius Cainglet Tue, 30 Jan 2018 22:18:12 +0000 Julius Cainglet and Ronahlee Asuncion 115861 at https://www.opendemocracy.net It takes two to tango: how employers can help formalise the domestic work sector https://www.opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elizabeth-tang-marie-jos-l-tayah/it-takes-two-to-tango-how-employers-can-help-formalis <div class="field field-summary"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>Domestic workers are organising and educating employers on how to be better allies in the fight for domestic workers rights, but employers must also do their part.</p> </div> </div> </div> <!--DEBATE BOX --> <style><!-- #debatemain {padding-top:5px;margin-bottom:0px;padding-bottom:0px;border-left:1px solid #EDEDED;border-right:1px solid #EDEDED;border-bottom:1px solid #EDEDED;} #debatebox { margin-top: 0; padding: 0; display: flex; } #convenor { padding: 0px 20px; width:40%; } #respondents { width:60%; top: 0; padding: 0px 20px; border-left:1px solid #EDEDED; } .participant {font-size:100%;} .affil {font-size:90%;font-style: italic;color: #999;} .rspacing {margin:10px 0px;line-height:100%;} --></style> <div id="debatemain"> <p style="background-color: #ededed; border-top: 3px solid #0061BF; color: #000000; font-size: 120%; font-weight: 400; margin: 0; padding: 10px 20px;">Policy debate</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; margin-top: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; color: #cf0a2c; font-weight: bold; font-size: 110%;">Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?</p> <p style="padding: 0px 20px; font-size: 90%;">We asked experts in the field of domestic workers' rights to respond to the following: <span style="color: #cf0a2c;">'Can employers be allies in the fight for domestic workers' rights?'</span> This is what they answered.</p> <div id="debatebox"> <div id="convenor"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Convenors </p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/sabrina-marchetti">Sabrina Marchetti</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/giulia-garofalo-geymonat">Giulia Garofalo Geymonat</a> , <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/eileen-boris">Eileen Boris</a> &amp; <a href="https://opendemocracy.net/author/jennifer-fish">Jennifer Fish</a></span></p><p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><br /></span></p> <p class="participant">Introduction:&nbsp;<a href="https://opendemocracy.net/sabrina-marchetti-giulia-garofalo-geymonat-eileen-boris-jennifer-fish/beyond-maids-and-madams-can-em">Beyond ‘maids and madams’: can employers be allies in new policies for domestic workers’ rights?</a></p> </div> <div id="respondents"> <p style="margin-top: 0px; margin-bottom: 0px; font-size: 120%; font-weight: bold;">Respondents</p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/claire-hobden-moriah-shumpert/win-win-scenario-fight-for-domestic-workers-rights-benef">Claire Hobden &amp; Moriah Shumpert</a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Labour Organization</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/lucero-herrera-saba-waheed/dispelling-myths-why-domestic-employer-worker-solidarity-is">Saba Waheed &amp; Lucero Herrera</a></span><br /><span class="affil">UCLA Labor Center</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/bridget-anderson/understanding-interpersonal-and-structural-context-of-domestic-work">Bridget Anderson</a></span><br /><span class="affil">University of Bristol</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/andrea-londo-o/allies-or-obstacles-role-of-domestic-employers-in-colombia">Andrea Londoño</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Fundación Bien Humano</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/elizabeth-tang-marie-jos-l-tayah/it-takes-two-to-tango-how-employers-can-help-formalis">Elizabeth Tang &amp; Marie-José L. Tayah </a></span><br /><span class="affil">International Domestic Workers Federation</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/julius-cainglet-ronahlee-asuncion/potential-avenues-for-domestic-employer-worker-solid">Julius Cainglet &amp; Ronahlee Asuncion</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Federation of Free Workers &amp; University of Philippines Diliman</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/rosa-navarro-mechtild-hart/beyond-individual-responsibility-what-domestic-employers-ne">Rosa Navarro &amp; Mechtild Hart</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Latino Union &amp; DePaul University</span></p> <p class="rspacing"><span class="participant"><a href="https://opendemocracy.net/beyondslavery/ilana-berger/allies-or-co-conspirators-what-does-domestic-workers-movement-need">Ilana Berger</a></span><br /><span class="affil">Hand in Hand</span></p> </div> </div> </div><div></div> <!-- END DEBATE BOX --> <p><img width="100%" src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u563152/4Z1B0926.jpg" /><span class="image-caption" style="font-size: 10px; font-style: italic;">Photo by Jennifer N. Fish.</span></p><h2><strong>Transforming the attitudes of employers: the My Fair Home (MFH) campaign</strong></h2> <p class="normal">The perception that domestic work is women’s work continues to shape the low value that employers assign to the sector, irrespective of context. Social, racial, class and caste hierarchies have proven resilient to legal reforms in the sector and continue to encourage employers’ lack of compliance with worker protections.</p> <p class="normal">Awareness campaigns are instrumental in educating employers about workers’ rights and obligations, and consequently in improving the working conditions of migrant domestic workers. This is why the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) launched the My Fair Home (MFH) campaign in 2015 for employers of domestic workers.&nbsp;</p> <h2 class="mag-quote-center">Social, racial, class and caste hierarchies have proven resilient to legal reforms in the sector.</h2> <p class="normal">When employers join the campaign, they pledge to: pay fair wages to domestic workers (at least the minimum wage); ensure fair working hours and rest periods; negotiate the terms of employment with the domestic workers themselves and to set those terms in writing; ensure access to decent healthcare and a home free from abuse, harassment and violence; provide a safe, secure and private bedroom for live-in domestic workers; and safeguard domestic workers’ right to spend their free time wherever and however they choose.</p> <p class="normal">MFH is part of the global campaign for the ratification of ILO Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers (C189). C189 gives domestic workers the same basic rights as other workers, including weekly days off, maximum hours of work, minimum wages, paid overtime, social security, and clear terms and conditions of employment. The MFH pledge encourages individuals to personally commit to the standards of the Convention, creating bottom-up support for the national ratification of C189.</p> <p class="normal">Along with its affiliates, IDWF has used the MFH framework to reach out to different constituencies of employers. For example, in March 2017, the IDWF and ILO invited the National Federation of Employees and Workers Unions in Lebanon (FENASOL) to join MFH. FENASOL affiliates from sectors as diverse as hotels and restaurants, garment and construction took the pledge to respect domestic workers' rights in their own homes.</p> <p><iframe frameborder="0" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/unxFCI13-Sw" height="259" width="460"></iframe></p> <p class="normal">The General Federation of Bahraini Trade Unions joined MFH one month later. The Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers’ Unions (FADWU) also used the MFH campaign to reach out to employers and in the process, urged them to desist from using the services of agencies that charge recruitment fees to workers, an illegal practice in Hong Kong. And in Mexico, the employer collective ‘Home Fair Home’ joined the Center for Domestic Workers’ Support and Training (CACEH) and the National Union of Domestic Workers (SINACTRAHO) to reach out to employers, and in the process, recruit new members for Home Fair Home.&nbsp;</p> <h2><strong>Concerted policy efforts: social dialogue and collective bargaining </strong></h2> <p class="normal">In addition to influencing the perceptions of employers, domestic workers’ organisations leverage institutions to promote the recognition of their rights. Domestic workers exercise their right to voice and representation when and where they can participate in social dialogue and collective bargaining with employer groups. Here are recent examples of how social dialogue and collective bargaining can contribute to the sector’s formalisation:&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">In Bolivia, the tripartite commission on domestic workers, which includes the National Federation of Domestic Workers’ Union in Bolivia (FENATRAHOB) the League of Housewives (Liga de Amas de Casa) and the Ministry of Labour, adopted a model employment contract for domestic workers in 2013.</p> <p class="normal">In Uruguay, the domestic workers’ union and the Housewives’ League reached a collective bargaining agreement in 2013. According to this agreement, a bipartite commission establishes wage categories according to skills and responsibilities. All the agreement’s provisions cover national and migrant domestic workers alike.&nbsp;</p> <p class="normal">Collective bargaining is only possible where domestic workers are recognised by labour laws, where sectoral collective bargaining is permitted, and most importantly, where employer organisations or a public agency that is involved in the employment relationship exist.</p> <h2><strong>Conclusion</strong></h2> <p class="normal">Domestic workers’ organisations engage with employers daily. The objective of this engagement can be to promote awareness and educate employers, such as in the case of the MFH campaign. But it can also aim at policy changes and the eventual formalisation of the sector, which can happen through social dialogue and collective bargaining.</p> <p class="normal">In contexts where domestic workers are increasingly fulfilling caregiving functions – in ageing societies where the burden of care is relegated to the individual household, to name just one example – the need for greater collaboration between domestic workers’ organisation and employers’ representatives has become crucial.</p> <p class="mag-quote-center">The need for greater collaboration between domestic workers’ organisation and employers’ representatives has become crucial.</p> <p class="normal">The race the bottom in the working conditions of household paid care workers is also affecting the quality of the services being provided to the elderly and/or children in their care. Workers do not always have the right qualifications. Their attention is also divided given that they are often overworked and subject to competing household demands. In response to the growing demand for home health aides and home care aides in the United States of America, our affiliate the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA) is collaborating with the families and individuals who employ homecare workers to redefine care work as quality work while ensuring that senior and people with disabilities can live independently in their own homes. </p> <p class="normal">Therefore, the question is not whether employers can or should be allies in the fight for domestic workers’ rights, but rather whether they can afford not to be.</p><fieldset class="fieldgroup group-sideboxs"><legend>Sideboxes</legend><div class="field field-read-on"> <div class="field-label"> 'Read On' Sidebox:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div style="width: 120px; float: right; padding-left: 10px; border-left: 1px solid #DDD; border-bottom: 1px solid #DDD; margin-left: 10px; margin-bottom: 10px; padding-bottom: 10px;"><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing"><img src="//cdn.opendemocracy.net/files/u555228/DWScover_460.jpg" width="120" /></a><br /><span style="margin-top: 0px; padding-top: 0px; font-size: 90%;"><strong>'Domestic workers speak: a global fight for rights and recognition'</strong> showcases the diversity and power of the domestic workers' rights movement. Featuring contributions from 23 worker-led groups, it details the struggle of domestic workers, explores their solidarity and methods of resistance, and calls for comprehensive rights for the world's most invisible workforce.<br /><strong><a href="https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B2lN4rGTopsaZ0VLdmZuYnBuc0U/view?usp=sharing">Free PDF download</a></strong></span></div> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-rights"> <div class="field-label">Rights:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> CC by NC 4.0 </div> </div> </div> BeyondSlavery BeyondSlavery Marie-José L. Tayah Elizabeth Tang Tue, 30 Jan 2018 22:17:31 +0000 Elizabeth Tang and Marie-José L. Tayah 115855 at https://www.opendemocracy.net