Domestic Workers' Rights
Sr. Nisha Mathew fsm, the coordinator of Karnataka Domestic Workers Movement (KDWM), was presented with the Karnataka Ratna - the hightest civilian honour of the state of Karnataka - on the occasion of Domestic Workers Day by the Karnataka Pradesh Congress Committee. The KDWM is a branch of a national movement across India which supports domestic workers, migrant domestic workers and children involved in domestic work. Conditions for women and children engaged in this work in India are extremely exploitative, often slave-like, with long working hours, low pay and little, if any, time off.
In her 2012 report, the Special Rapporteur on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, Gulnara Shahinian, addressed domestic servitude and the slave-like practices of bonded domestic labour and child domestic labour, asserting that “there is no greater denial of the universally shared values of equality and human dignity than the treatment of human beings as mere chattels that can be owned.” The Special Rapporteur said that there was too little being done to protect domestic workers and the result was that they had become invisible.
Sr. Nisha and her colleagues in the Domestic Workers Movement have worked tirelessly for the rights of domestic workers and succeeded in establishing a union in January 2012. This award is a great achievement, not only for Sr. Nisha, but for all involved in the struggle for domestic workers’ rights as their efforts to win justice for domestic workers are officially recognized by the people of Karnataka.