Published by Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME) Singapore and Liberty Shared

The report examines the issue of forced labour (FL) among Singapore’s migrant domestic worker (MDW) population. Enaged in essential care and household work, live-in domestic workers are recognized as particularly vulnerable to labour and human rights violations. As a community, domestic workers are highly susceptible to forced labour due to the isolated nature of their work and workplaces (private homes), the lack of legal protection in Singapore, as well as the difficulties of – and reluctance associated with – regarding domestic work, even when policies aimed at doing so already exist.

In the last year, HOME provided shelter to ver 800 MDWs. The five most common complaints leading these women to seek shelter were: overwork, emotional abuse (including verbal insults, intimidation and threats), salary-related claims, illegal deployment and inadequate provison of food. Other issues repported included a ack or denial of rest days, unreasonbale restrictions on communication (including the confiscation of mobile phones), the denial of sick leave and / or medical treatment and poor living conditions. There were also reports of physical and sexuall abuse or harassment. While not the primary trigger for leaving employment, almost all the domestic workers who seek help from HOME have thier identity documents (most notabley passports) withheld by employers. Meanwhile, recruitment regimes continue to subject MDWs in Singapore to several months of salary deductions in order to repay recruitment fees, leaving them with low to no salary for an average of four to eight months. Pursuant to the International Labour Organization’s (ILO) frameworks for forced labour, manu of these practices are recognized as strong indicators of forced labour.

To download the full report please click the link below:

Behind Closed Doors Forced Labour in the Domestic Work Sector in Singapore

To know more about the organizations behind the report please see the following:

Humanitarian Organization for Migraton Economics:

Liberty Shared:


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