Filipino Au Pairs in Denmark Are Forced to “Black Work”

According to new research from Center Against Human Trafficking in the Danish Service Agency (Servicestyrelsen) – Many of the Filipino au pairs who live and work in Danish families have had to ante up thousands of Danish krones to mediators and employment agencies to get to Denmark. This means that the girls – who typically come from harsh economic backgrounds – are already indebted before they arrive in Denmark.
Therefore some of them feel compelled to undertake “black work” and perhaps also eventually to stay illegally in the country to work off the debt.
The research is based on thorough study of the au pair environment, and qualitative interviews with 26 au pair girls and one au pair boy, the majority from the Philippines.
The report concludes that it isn’t people trafficking, but that a more or less systematic economic exploitation of the Filipino au pairs is taking place. The Philippine au pairs are with 2.100 residence permits in 2008 clearly the largest group of au pairs in the Danish au pair system.
Among other things the mediators and facilitators exploit the girls’ ignorance, lack of access to the Internet and fierce desire to come to the West and make money for themselves and their families. Because of this the mediators get them to accept unfair economic conditions.
“They have this burning desire to go to the West, so they are willing to accept poor conditions and expose themselves to something which is not people trafficking, but which creates a great vulnerability. Therefore, we must take it seriously,” says Gitte Tilia, coordinator at the Center against Human Trafficking.
According to the report Filipino au pairs have had to pay between 2.000-13.000 krones (not including air tickets) to agencies and mediators.

Source: Berlingske Tidende 28.01.2010 

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