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In UK, Indian domestic workers face abuse

world Updated: Apr 02, 2014 00:00 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times
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Indians and other migrant domestic workers who accompany their employers to the UK are being subjected to serious abuses, including forced labour, according to a report released today by campaigners working in an area that is largely hidden from public gaze.

In a report titled ‘Hidden Away: Abuses Against Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK’, Human Rights Watch presented findings from research and interviews with several domestic workers, including Indians, and campaign groups such as Kalayaan.

Human Rights Watch said the David Cameron government was doing “far too little” to protect vulnerable workers, and added that recent changes to UK immigration rules made it harder for workers to flee abuse.

In April 2012, the government abolished the right of migrant domestic workers — most of them women — to change their employers once they are in the UK, against the recommendations of parliament, nongovernmental organizations, and UN experts.

Under the terms of the new ‘tied visa,’ overseas domestic workers cannot legally leave their employer and find new work, meaning those abused can become trapped in their situation, the report said. The 58-page report documents the confiscation of passports, confinement, physical and psychological abuse.