In a judgement handed down on the 17th September the Employment Tribunal upheld the claims of a domestic worker who had been kept in domestic servitude and conditions ‘in clear violation of her dignity’ for over 4 years.
The domestic worker was represented by the Anti Trafficking and Labour Exploitation Unit. You can read more about the case and find the judgement on the ATLEU website
Alarmingly ATLEU has reported that the Legal Aid Agency refused to fund their representation of this claimant for 17 months. It was apparently suggested that her case was not of “sufficient importance or seriousness” and that it was “only a claim for money” so the Claimant could represent herself. This would have necessitated the worker cross examining the employers who had kept her in domestic servitude for years. ATLEU have explained that it was only with relentless legal representation that funding was eventually secured.
The changes to the immigration rules laid before parliament on the 17th September 2015 will not, in the view of Kalayaan and Justice 4 Domestic Workers improve the desperate situation of migrant domestic workers in the UK.
Migrant Rights Network have published Kalayaan and J4DW’s joint statement which sets out our concerns that these changes will not protect against nor prevent abuse and exploitation and could in fact push trafficked workers into re exploitation.
The publication of the review of the Overseas Domestic Worker visa has been delayed. The review was committed to during the passage of the Modern Slavery Bill through parliament and is being carried out by Barrister James Ewins, who will report to the Home Secretary. Although the review had planned to publish its findings mid July 2015 this has now been delayed until November 2015.