Reform of laws governing the rights of migrant domestic workers is painfully slow – a consequence of insufficient political will and a lack of international pressure.
First written in The New Arab, July 2016:
Around seven years ago, I heard a story, a story of a seemingly insignificant girl, but one that made a lasting impact on me. It was Seda’s story, encapsulated by Kevin Bales in Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy.
Seda was brought to Paris from Mali by a family friend. As an adolescent girl, she was told she would be coming to go to school and learn French, a ruse that ultimately trapped her in a nightmare of domestic servitude for her “friend” and their family.
She worked from 7am to 11pm, was made to sleep on the floor, denied days off, forbidden from going outside and beaten. Beaten for minor discrepancies such as taking food, as she was only allowed leftovers. Seda wasn’t just beaten in fact, she was tortured in unfathomable ways, and violated to the point of falling unconscious.