Demand in the context of trafficking in human beings in the domestic work sector in Belgium

Belgian anti-THB policy is often pointed as exemplary given its broad definition of the crime of trafficking for labour exploitation, as being the work or service carried out in conditions contrary to human dignity, in which the coercion element is not compulsory. However, hardly any policy initiatives in Belgium tackle specifically demand-side aspects in labour exploitation and THB in the domestic work sector. Recent policy changes in the domain of domestic work at diplomatic households and the formalisation of live-out domestic work with a service voucher policy have positive effects on the sector. Undocumented domestic workers in the shadow market and possibly regular migrants under temporary work permits are, though, still largely unprotected. The main obstacles to prevent exploitative situations within the sector are the migration and employment policies applying to domestic work. Indeed, this paper argues that when migrant workers are without the possibility to regularise their migration status maintain them in a vulnerable situation: migration status is a key issue for giving people the real possibility to access and defend their rights. Only the full respect of (all) workers’ rights will reduce their vulnerability to labour exploitation and trafficking.
Year 2016
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