IOM X Premieres New Video to Help Prevent Exploitation of Domestic Workers

#HappyHome Premiere
IOM-X Youth Supporters at the #HappyHome Premiere

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Janice Laurente

IOM X in partnership with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) today premiered Open Doors: An IOM X Production, aimed at preventing the exploitation of domestic workers in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. “The 22-minute video carries a message to employers of domestic workers that a positive relationship with their domestic worker, based on trust and communication, helps create a happy home,” said Tara Dermott, Program Leader of IOM X, the International Organization for Migration's (IOM) campaign to encourage safe migration and public action to stop exploitation and human trafficking.

The video follows the stories of three families in ASEAN and domestic workers from Indonesia, the Philippines, and Myanmar. 

Domestic workers are employed in private homes, providing services such as cleaning, laundry, shopping, cooking and caring for children and the elderly. Globally, one in every 13 female wage earners is employed in domestic work. Of the estimated 52 million domestic workers worldwide, 41 per cent are from Asia Pacific. It is estimated that 1.9 million of the domestic workers from Asia Pacific are being exploited.

“Millions of women migrate in the Asia Pacific region to work as domestic workers, including those from Indonesia. Therefore, and in the spirit stipulated in the Palermo Protocol, it is inevitable for every Government in the region to work together with all stakeholders to prevent domestic workers from being victims of human trafficking. I welcome all initiatives, such as IOM X’s Open Doors, which is an innovative campaign to encourage safe migration and to stop exploitation and human trafficking,” said H.E. Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia.

"The Government of Indonesia continues to hard work to improve protection for all workers, including domestic workers who work in-country or overseas. There are millions of domestic workers who are vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking in persons. This remains the main concern of all member states of the ILO (including Indonesia) in order to handle this issue in a safe and fair way. I welcome the IOM X Happy Home Campaign, which speaks directly to the people who can stop the exploitation of workers in the domestic sector. Let’s put more attention on this issue and encourage both parties (workers and employers) to better understand their rights and obligations in order to create better environments for both domestic workers and employers," said Mr. Hanif Dhakiri, Minister of Manpower, Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia.

“Employers are the change-makers when it comes to stopping the exploitation of domestic workers. The aim of Open Doors is to encourage them to take the lead in creating happy home environments where exploitation can’t flourish. Making sure their domestic workers have a weekly day off, to spend where and how they please, as well as a way to communicate regularly with family and friends, are both steps in the right direction,” explained Dermott further.

Live-in domestic workers who have experienced exploitation have reported low pay or no pay at all, excessive working hours (such as being on call for 24 hours a day), no weekly day off, living in poor and unsafe conditions, inflated agency fees, debt-bondage, forced labour and forced confinemen. Severe forms of exploitation include deprivation of food and water, sexual abuse, rape, denial of health care services, being surveilled by cameras, having to ask to use the bathroom, and physical and psychological abuse. 

“The United States remains committed to promoting dignity, freedom, human rights, and wellbeing of people around the world,” said U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Brian McFeeters. “Human trafficking impedes health, economic growth, rule of law, women’s empowerment, and lifetime prospects for young people. We are proud to support this regional campaign to effectively address human trafficking and ensure protection of people throughout ASEAN, including domestic workers who are at higher risk for exploitation because the abuse can take place behind closed doors.”  

Open Doors is a three-part drama about families and their domestic workers. Based in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, the three stories follow the challenges of each busy family, as they balance demanding work schedules, household duties and raising children, with the help of their domestic workers from the Philippines, Indonesia and Myanmar. In each story, the family goes through a moment of reflection, where they recognize that everyone needs a break, and that not meeting their domestic worker’s needs is having a negative impact on both the family and their employee. Each story in Open Doors was written, produced and directed by local talent in each country.

"We know that families and societies depend on their remittances as a significant input into household and national accounts. But even though migration provides economic opportunities for some women and a financial safety net for their families, many women are highly vulnerable to unfair treatment, exploitation, abuse and different forms of violence. This is especially the case for domestic and care workers,” said Roberta Clarke, Regional Director of UN Women Asia and the Pacific and Representative in Thailand.

Over 200 people attended the opening, including representatives from the Government of the Republic of Indonesia, U.S. Government, UN Women, Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), and counter-trafficking community. Additionally, over 80 domestic workers from the Jakarta area attended, along with student and online advocates, and local and international media.

During the event, IOM X and its supporters also premiered Sebuah Harapan: An IOM X PSA. This three-minute video, in Bahasa Indonesia with English subtitles, shares practical tips from Indonesian employers and current domestic workers on how they have created happy homes through open communication and mutual respect. Sebuah Harapan features Dede Yusuf, Head of Commission IX, House of Representatives of the Republic of Indonesia, and Lita Anggraini, Executive Director of Jala PRT.

The event and programs were made possible through the support of IOM X’s partners, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Manpower of the Republic of Indonesia, ASEAN Secretariat, U.S. State Department, USAID, UN Women and the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT). IOM X would also like to thank its wider program partners, Love Frankie, BBTV Channel 7 (Thailand), Nin Media, Rapid Asia, Jala PRT, SBMI, HomeNet, H.O.M.E., TWC2, UN Women Committee Singapore, Indonesian Family Network and the International Domestic Workers Federation.

To learn more about domestic worker rights, or to report suspected exploitation, please contact the following organizations:

In Indonesia: Jala PRT,,, 021 217 971 629 (or +62 217 971 629 from outside of Indonesia)

In Singapore: H.O.M.E.,, 1 800 797 7977 (or +65 6341 5525 from outside of Singapore)

In Thailand: HomeNet Thailand,, 02 513 9242 (or +66 2 513 9242 from outside of Thailand)

Visit to view the videos, test your knowledge about the domestic worker rights and take a quiz to find out if you would be a good employer.

View an electronic version of this press release, along with high-resolution photos, here: