ABSTRACT

This chapter considers how gaps in pre-departure protection create the conditions for exploitation against domestic workers in labour-receiving countries. Following analysis of the leading rights violations experienced by domestic workers in host states, it explores two ways in which the Philippine and Sri Lankan governments are attempting to prevent and address such abuse despite uneven labour regulations across receiving countries. It first examines government assistance in the form of support services provided by labour attachés and welfare officers, emphasising the lack of government personnel overseas coupled with deficient training in how to assist women migrant workers. It then analyses government negotiation through bilateral labour agreements and memoranda of understanding on the protection of the rights of migrant workers to demonstrate how the Philippines and Sri Lanka are not passive actors and able to intervene to facilitate migration flows and the commodification of migrant labour. Ultimately, the chapter considers the informal and non-binding nature of the labour agreements and inadequate implementation, suggesting that both states are willing to trade-off the rights of women domestic workers in exchange for economic benefits deriving from access to foreign labour markets.