Mexico                                        March 30

Proclamation by the Domestic Workers of Latin America and the Caribbean



In the framework of the International Day of the Domestic Worker, established and declared as a day of struggle, we, the organizations devoted to enhancing the visibility of domestic workers and advocating for their right to decent work and non-discriminatory treatment, have taken stock of our current situation. We have also prioritized our demands and debated and prepared our key proposals.


The labor force that performs paid household work is formed by millions of women and girls of all ages who emigrate from rural, indigenous and semi-urban areas to the cities in search of a better life and access to education. The need to contribute to their families’ survival forces these women and girls to abandon their home life and culture and adopt customs that are not their own.


In 1988 we joined together in a Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Domestic Workers (CONLACTRAHO). We have members from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and Canada.


Recognizing the similarity of our situation and condition as domestic workers, we made two important decisions:


1st – To form a confederation that unites all the organizations from the countries of the region in a Latin American Movement of Domestic Workers.


2nd - That March 30 be declared the International Day of the Domestic Worker and that the day be used to raise awareness about the situation of discrimination and human rights violations that domestic workers suffer, and make our Confederation known.


Our goals include:


-Working to strengthen domestic workers’ organizations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean and to support and create new organizations in the countries where there are none, with the aim of contributing to the development and enhancement of a continent-wide movement.


-Working to further the unity of these organizations, without ethnical, cultural, ideological or religious discrimination, whether they be services or related activity trade unions or associations, with the aim of building a strong network that will enable us to grow and achieve the recognition that we have historically been denied as women workers.


-Working to raise awareness on our situation at the local, regional and continental level. To achieve this, CONLACTRAHO focuses on denouncing the exploitation, marginalization, and social and labor discrimination suffered by the majority of domestic workers. Our actions are also aimed at supporting the specific demands raised by each of these organizations, taking into account the social, cultural and economic diversity of the Americas and the particularities of each region.


We hereby state:


-That as domestic workers and women we are victims of racial, ethnic, political, institutional and social violence.


-That in practice we are still denied our social and collective rights.


-That we are discriminated because we are women, indigenous and poor and because of our condition as domestic workers.


-That our work is not recognized socially or economically.


-That the law discriminates us and that this is due to the fact that we are not acknowledged as subjects of the law.


We denounce:


-That our culture continues to foster the belief that domestic work is women’s work and we are encouraged to educate our children in that belief.


-That we are not recognized by society as workers despite the importance of our work.


-That this invisibility relegates us to the private sphere, limiting our access to the education we need to know our rights and excluding us from participating in politics where we can fight to enforce our rights.


-That policy-makers lack the political will to reform our laws so that our rights as domestic workers are recognized.


-That there are no policies that focus specifically on domestic workers.


-That the demands of domestic workers are not included in the agendas of governments and social movements.


We propose:


-That we join efforts to achieve the recognition of the value of both paid and non-paid domestic workers and the recognition and enjoyment of our human rights.


-That a fair law be passed guaranteeing us the same treatment that all other workers receive.


As domestic workers we are willing to fight for equal labor rights, decent work and fair treatment, but governments must also take responsibility and adopt legislation to guarantee our rights, recognize and dignify domestic work and strive to achieve equal conditions for these workers in accordance with International Labor Organization (ILO) conventions and other international instruments regarding women’s rights, and to ban the worst forms of domestic child labor, forced labor, migration and human trafficking.



Marcelina Bautista Bautista

General Secretary of the Latin American and Caribbean Confederation of Domestic Workers (CONLACTRAHO)



Universal Demand for the Rights of Domestic Workers

·       Work Contract  

·       Holidays  

·       Vacations  

·       Eight-hour workdays

·       Social security  

·       Weekly rest

·       Compensation  

·       Child labor protection

·       Labor justice

·       Union freedom

·       Right to strike  

·       Decent wages

·       Right to education



                March 27, 2009




Imagen: Boligan /


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