Modern Slavery and Migrant Domestic Workers: The Politics of Legal Characterization

Judy Fudge
Publication date: 
Mon, 24 Oct 2016

This policy brief outlines the problem of addressing the long-standing exploitation of migrant domestic workers by using a modern slavery and trafficking approach which is embedded in the criminal law. It explains why migrant domestic workers who enter the UK on temporary visas are vulnerable to exploitation by their employers.

Judy Fudge argues that moves by the current government to close national borders to 'unskilled' migrants have backfired. Instead, she recommends a multipronged strategy designed to regulate the labour market, which includes:

  • the UK government’s ratification of the ILO's Domestic Workers Convention;
  • establishing a centralized and well-funded labour inspectorate; and
  • creating a firewall between immigration controls and the enforcement of labour rights.