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Illegal domestic workers are people who work at the private homes in other foreign nations without proper immigration documentation and clearance. According to the United States Census Bureau the amount of domestic workers who are engaged in domestic labor have increased and are now more than 2 million. These statistics are understated since there are a high number of illegal domestic workers who have not been documented and cleared. Indeed, these numbers indicate that there is a very big reason to be concerned the domestic labor work force. Domestic labor has become a major issue in western and other wealthier nations as it brings the balance that exists in these societies caused by the inclination of women to develop career and the need to bring more forces in caring old and disabled people. Even with these, domestic workers have faced a lot of challenges and problems; first, they are overworked and underpaid, even isolated while being denied a chance to organize. Hence, these challenges have been based on the essentials of fair payment terms, discriminations and the right to form labor unions and organizations. Furthermore, even the existing immigration labor laws and regulations do not provide a proper and reasonable directive on the state of domestic service since they do not recognize it. This paper will look at the underlying issues, discuss the reasons and perceptions that lead to the exploitation and neglect of domestic workers. The essentials of the illegal immigration and consequences of the domestic labor determinants are to be investigated. The paper will also try to underscore the need for proper laws and recognition in ensuring that domestic labor is saved and domestic workers are remunerated accordingly. Then, the paper will address to the failure of the laws and regulations in solving the challenges. Hence, this paper will completely analyze and research the particulars that lead to the increasing of domestic labor and the challenges that workers are facing in the globe and particularly in the United States of America. Moreover, provide a reasonable legal recommendation.

Migrant Domestic Work Dynamics

Domestic workers are very popular in modern society and have become commoditized service in the globe. It is due to the huge resource that the migrant domestic workers remit to their nations of origin which provides the needed revenue for the economic development. Furthermore, domestic labor has been significant in bringing a balance in the care deficit that wealthier nations experience. Regardless of the importance of the domestic force, migrants are among the most exploited and misused in the globe. Migrant domestic force has been discriminated based on the common social and economic bases that include class and race, nationality and gender, immigration status and the labor laws of the nation of the country of origin, especially the United States labor laws.  This abuse and discrimination has faced the sector in high levels, when the migrant domestic force has been instrumental in the upbringing of children and care of old men in the society.

Domestic workers take up to 10% of the total employment of certain nations. Domestic work is also a popular work for women since it is not easy to find a man interested in this kind of work. In the lobe, domestic and other care work form the largest single work for women. This is due to certain factors which uplift the women to the work. Gender is among the factor that pushes women to domestic work, the underlying perception that women are inclined to the house and domestic duties has given no chance for women to develop other forms of work. Then immigration factors push rare another force since domestic work provide a rich resource for countries origin hence making other countries encouraging their females to migrate and take the jobs for the benefit of their nations as in the labor export strategy. On the other hand, wealthier nations are benefitting from the domestic force to offset their care deficit that haunts their societies since women in these nations need domestic force because they are developing their career. Indeed, these women have transferred their duties to the less privileged immigrants who cannot afford to develop their careers above the domestic services. Thereby, in most cases these arrangements do not provide a chance for renegotiation as it’s a private issue for families engage in this trade without the guidance of governments or agencies.

Regardless of the importance of domestic work, it’s one of the most exploited and misused sectors in the globe, Domestic workers are looked down upon as to be unskilled hence their work is commonly undervalued and regulated in the worse possible ways. This renders domestic work to fall short of the ratified international working and labor conditions and standards since domestic workers work without the state scrutiny that lacks reasonable labor regulations and laws with worse working conditions. Migrating to another nation requires a significant amount of capital and enhanced social networks; hence it is never easy to move to another nation, but with the establishment of recruitment agencies it has become easier since they prepare all financial needs and other proceeds. Then they will deduct the initial expenses and other fees from the migrant’s salary. These recruitment agencies have gone forward to be stumbling blocks as they later provide uncomfortable conditions to the migrants and even experience illegal immigration practices. Commonly, they are engaged in illegal immigration practices and even smuggling. The most popular practice is that these agencies are able to engage a single client per domestic worker making it impossible for him to change employers even when they are mistreated. They also threaten the workers with immigration papers since they keep them or when smuggled them to the United States of America. Thus, the migrant status of a domestic worker can be a great obstacle for him to move or change abusive employment. Since 9/11 the United States tightened its border security since there is a high level of undocumented workers, also with domestic worker being an informal employment with a complex and unregulated labor renders the domestic workers undocumented and vulnerable to abuse and even in number of occasion’s death.

Reasons to Abuse of Migrant Domestic Workers

Among the major reasons of the increase in the number of illegal domestic workers are economic factors. Economic factors in developing nations have pushed a lot of women from their own homes and families to other wealthier nations to search a more rewarding and paying work that can help them to feed their own children and extended families. As it was indicated earlier, domestic work had proved to be an important resource of revenue for developing nations who had a high number of domestic workers in wealthier nations. These reasons are encouraging women to take over the jobs so that they can raise revenue for their nations in the form of home investment and taxation. These have read to “otherness” concept by home workers who feel that this kind of people does not belong to their group thus do not deserve labor protection entitlement. Hence, the wealthier countries exclude them from the labor legislation as they feel that they do not affect them as citizens of the nation, hence distance them from the sector. Part from that concept, another major contributor is the social concept that domestic work has always been aligned to women work thereby exacerbating a low status to the sector. As famous sociologists Davison and Anderson put it, a home is perceived to be governed by a mutual dependence and rather affective relations that are used or are in control of an economic market which includes the concept of self-interest and individual conformity stands before social remedies. Also, domestic has been labeled as care, thereby noting that domestic work has been removed from economic entitlements. This makes domestic work not to enjoy the benefits and contents of labor rights that involve minimum wage and day offs, fixed working hours, vacations and even other working benefits that are endowed to usual workers in other sectors as they are viewed not to be in context with the “care” sector.

Another factor that supports the conflict is the underlying race, ethnic otherness or nationalism which sometimes facilitates exploitation and even trafficking. Thereby, other than treating this kind of workers like any other in other sectors, employers could view them as individuals who engage in mutual dependence. The mutual dependence whereby the worker is in the need of income and work for his/her needs while the employer needs a flexible employment. It is also a fact that migrant workers are better than local due to their immigration conditions or the lack of employment that makes them more desperate for work; thus, they can work in any environment and work time as far as they get their income and a job. Therefore, employers help in acquiring these people will then hide their exploitation; as a result migrant workers become vulnerable due to their undocumented status and other economic conditions. Race and ethnicity are other reasons that lead to exploitation of illegal domestic workers. The United States National Labor Relations laws did not allow the documentations of foreign workers as Southern politicians in the 1930’s feared that registering them could anger the whites. Even today the trend continues as employer’s hiring policies and procedures are based and ranked in race and ethnicity lines. Indeed, employers have taken this chance of workers being undocumented to exploit them as Nina’s case. Even government institutions have been silent on the matter with the excuse that the case of immigration workers cannot be solved under the law hence they are unable to act at any circumstance. Then, we can conclude that exploitation and abuse of illegal domestic workers have been boosted by gender issues, immigration documentation and ethnicity.

Legal Issues and Possible Solutions

One of the major legal and policy failures of the government is their inability to ensure protection for domestic and other workers in the informal sector because of their usual and societal perceptions that domestic work is not a work. The guiltiest are the countries of origin of these workers who despite receiving massive income fail to protect them even with obvious prove of the occurrences of the exploitation. Recruitment agencies are within the reach of these governments and they are the big offenders, still governments fail. Consular centers of the countries where these happen also do not offer any significant help amid many approaches on the same accusations. Nations should be able to enter bilateral work agreements for standard treatment of domestic workers but this process has become just a standard process. Hence countries of origin have done the same in order to keep up with a competitive edge of the overseas force. In the countries of work, domestic work has been regarded as informal hence beyond public scrutiny and control. Even in countries where exist domestic labor laws, scrutiny is limited as there is privacy concerns in monitoring private work place conduct hence limiting any chances of convictions of domestic workers abusers. Thus, globally there been a few convictions on that and interest in always shifting as nations is not keen on the matter.

Another failure is in the creation of international law. International law does not in any way provide protection for migrant domestic workers, thus making it one of the biggest failures of international organizations and institutions. There are few laws that are relevant to the matter, mostly that are involved in problems of migrant workers right which are essential to their freedom in relation to the association and further collective bargaining. Others include conventions on forced and child labor discrimination. Other international laws are the international conventions on the migrant workers protection and their families but with no much protection for illegal domestic workers. Also, very few nations are members of the conventions.

Perhaps, a solution can be found in the anti-trafficking laws which have become major interests in countries. The reason being that many big crimes have been associated with trafficking and other criminal syndicates which as lead to the trafficking of more that 2 million people worldwide, hence changes on the view of international laws. In these situation and law, as per the exploitation that one has been through the basic anti-trafficking law scope, an illegal migrant worker can be able to be covered. The United States as been in the forefront of this matter has passed crucial laws like the Trafficking Victims Protection Act which will help victims of trafficking. In the law, which abides international within the level and territory of the United States, exploited domestic workers would benefit from wage and hour claims, even breach of the contract. Under the act, a form of trafficking is defined as “recruitment or a harboring or transportation or obtaining an individual on labor using a process of a force, coercion and fraud with the intention or purpose of subjecting the person to involuntary servitude, debt bondage, peonage or slavery”. With these environment and situation an illegal domestic worker would benefit as long as he/she cooperates for the prosecution of the traffickers. Also that individual could receive social services as a refugee of a temporary or permanent residency with even a right to sue the traffickers for monetary compensation. In the United States, attorneys and lawyers have taken major steps and strategies in order to deal with the matter. They have employed even distant legislation and other possible methods to arrive at a successful triumph hence there is a need to proper legislation and direction on the matter.


In conclusion, there are enough illustrations of the failure in the international community and even the United States in addressing the exploitation of illegal domestic workers. There is absolute no international and national laws that have been developed fully to help curb the crisis as the fate of undocumented migrant workers that have been left hanging in all situations. U.S Department of State has failed to deal with the matter after even the passing of the TVPA. More blame goes to the home countries of these illegal workers who fail to identify such cases and convict them even with the high income from the domestic workers. Therefore, there is a need for these nations to stand up, demand labor standards and control their domestic workers. There is also a need for creation of international regulations and laws that will identify such crimes and provide a way towards protecting these workers.

Starting from the United States, domestic work should be recognized and a labor union should be organized through legislation so as these workers are able to get what they deserve. Domestic workers have been involved actively in the care and development of children and old men in care centers and homes. These people play a major role in the development of the society hence they need respect and recognition. Also, domestic work should be expanded from the gender and ethical issues with awareness and legislation to curb and disallow any actions of the latter.

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