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Migrants at WorkImmigration and Vulnerability in Labour Law$
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Cathryn Costello and Mark Freedland

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198714101

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714101.001.0001

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Migrants, Unfree Labour, and the Legal Construction of Domestic Servitude

Migrants, Unfree Labour, and the Legal Construction of Domestic Servitude

Migrant Domestic Workers in the UK

Chapter:
(p.160) 9 Migrants, Unfree Labour, and the Legal Construction of Domestic Servitude
Source:
Migrants at Work
Author(s):

Judy Fudge

Kendra Strauss

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198714101.003.0009

This chapter examines the 2012 changes to the United Kingdom’s Overseas Domestic Workers visa, changes which increased the vulnerability of domestic workers to exploitation by prohibiting them from changing employers, abolishing their route to settlement, and limiting the duration of their visa to six months. It considers how the UK Government used the discourses of slavery, trafficking, and forced labour to justify stripping the visa of its key protective rights and the route to citizenship. The chapter contends that in the UK the criminalization of trafficking and modern slavery distracts from the general vulnerability of domestic workers to exploitation by employers. It argues that the case study illustrates how anti-trafficking discourse has an elective affinity with traditional (civil and political) human rights, strict migration controls, and criminal prohibitions, rather than social and labour rights

Keywords:   domestic worker, Overseas Domestic Workers Visa, modern slavery, trafficking, unfree labour, forced labour, tie, migration status, criminal law

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