Domestic Workers protest in Front of the World Bank
(WASHINGTON, DC) – CASA de Maryland’s Committee of Women Seeking Justice encouraged World Bank and diplomat employers to respect domestic worker rights during a conference and protest held this Tuesday in front of the institution in Washington, D.C.
Activists and workers delivered holiday cards to the World Bank and several embassies, encouraging employees of the institution and members of the diplomatic community to respect the contributions and labor of their domestic workers.
The action corresponds with the release of the first national study documenting conditions in the domestic work industry.
CASA de Maryland’s members conducted in-depth interviews with domestic workers throughout the DC area along with groups in 12 other metropolitan regions.
The study reveals domestic workers experience widespread mistreatment, hazardous working conditions, a lack of benefits and substandard pay. 23 percent of domestic workers surveyed are paid below minimum wage; for live-in workers that figure rises to 67 percent. The study can be found online at http://www.domesticworkers.org/homeeconomics/.
“These findings should be a wakeup call to employers everywhere. We are visiting the area employers where we have found the most prevalent and severe cases of abuse over the past decade: the World Bank and embassies. These employers are setting a bad example,” said Antonia Peña, Domestic Worker Organizer at CASA de Maryland.
For ten years, CASA de Maryland has fought against employer abuse and has assisted dozens of women in leaving exploitative work situations, won unpaid wages and recovered workers’ passports withheld by diplomatic employers. The vast majority of domestic workers seeking CASA’s assistance have been employed by World Bank employees and embassy diplomats.
“We respect our employers and put our love into caring for their children and homes. Likewise, we deserve to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Adelaide Tembe, domestic worker leader at CASA.