About IDWF and how we are helping
IDWF is a global federation of domestic and household workers governed by and for its members. IDWF has 75 affiliated organizations from 58 countries, which represent, together, more than 560,000 domestic workers. Their collective aim is to advance the rights and working conditions of those who work in private household; many countries choose to exclude domestic workers from labour and legal rights.
All domestic workers face challenges—including exploitation and abuse—working behind closed doors. Migrant workers are especially vulnerable because they may be trapped, unable to leave or return home from a dangerous situation. They lack legal protection and community supports—and often lack healthcare.
Since the COVID-19 crisis began, IDWF has been hearing from domestic workers who have been locked in by employers, forbidden to take time off, and forced to do extra cleaning—sometimes for sick members of the household—with no protective equipment. And in many countries, our affiliates are struggling to help women whose employers have thrown them into the streets, fearing these “outsiders” are vectors for disease. These women desperately need shelter, food and hygiene—and they need help to get home.
In the worst cases, migrant domestic workers are beaten or raped—even murdered—by their employers. But in some countries, a migrant domestic worker is seen as the property of the employer and cannot end her contract and escape unless she can prove she’s being physically or sexually abused. Proof requires an expensive forensic doctor’s report that she cannot afford.
IDWF’s affiliates are helping domestic workers, providing life-saving support while advocating for their safety. IDWF established the Solidarity Fund in March, and has been dispersing funds to help in this urgent situation.
More about the Fund and messages from around the world.