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花旗国的半边天

An Exploration of Women's Issues

 
 
 

日志

 
 

家庭佣工受虐问题 (Domestic Workers Abuse)  

2011-10-25 02:07:31|  分类: 默认分类 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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家庭佣工受虐问题 (Domestic Workers Abuse) - 美国马尾妹 - 花旗国的半边天

 每隔几年就有一个关于家庭佣工遭受残忍虐待的事件被披露,这类丑闻层出不穷。这些事件实际上具有奴役的性质。几年前,一对富翁夫妇被控监禁及虐待两名刚移民到美国的印尼籍家佣。他们强迫这些女佣一天工作十八个小时以上,不提供基本的薪酬和食物,还借其行为不检为名殴打她们。这类丑闻引起了社会强烈的反响,人们惊异于现代社会竟然还存在这样野蛮的虐待行为。虽然逼佣为奴事件在现实中并不普遍,大部分女佣和雇主之间关系融洽,互相尊重,但此类事件还是多有发生,让人难以接受。当然,印尼籍女佣的遭遇是一个极端的个案,但是在某程度上也是很多家佣受虐遭遇的缩影,她们只是有苦不能言。


Every few years, an instance of domestic workers being horrifically mistreated is uncovered and a huge scandal breaks. Often, these instances amount to slavery. A few years ago, a wealthy couple was accused of imprisoning and torturing two housekeepers who had recently immigrated to the U.S. from Indonesia. They forced these women to work more than eighteen hours a day with pay or food and physically punished them for alleged misbehavior. Scandals such as these catch the public's attention because it seems shocking that such gross abuse could occur in modern society. While the abuse of domestic workers is by no means a universal phenomenon– indeed, many enjoy healthy and respectful working relationships with their employers– it is nonetheless more common than most people would like to believe. The incident with the Indonesian housekeepers represents a particularly extreme case, but many other domestic workers experience mistreatment and abuse at the hands of their employers and feel that they have little power for recourse.


Domestic workers (a category which includes nannies, caregivers, housekeepers, and maids) in the U.S. are overwhelmingly female and are often also recent immigrants to the country. Workers who are recent immigrants are particularly vulnerable for being abused by their employers because they may be unaware of what rights they have or of what means are available to them for obtaining justice. Many workers also fear that they will be fired if they confront or reproach their employers. Faced with the prospect of not having a paying job, many workers feel trapped in abusive employment situations.


Because of domestic workers' vulnerability and relative isolation from each other, many workers silently put up with ridiculously low wages, long hours, and sometimes even physical abuse. Domestic workers usually work individually in homes without much contact with other workers, making it difficult for them to realize that others are experiencing the same abuse. As a result, until relatively recently, there was little organized activism to improve working conditions for domestic workers. Over the past few years, groups like Domestic Workers United and the National Domestic Workers Alliance have been trying to change that by disseminating information about domestic workers' experiences. The hope of these organizations is that by demonstrating that the treatment of domestic help is not just an issue when thrown into the spotlight by a major scandal, they will create momentum for greater legal protection of workers' rights. Already, these organizations have enjoyed a certain degree of success: in 2010, New York State passed a Domestic Workers' Bill of Rights that seeks to address these workers' vulnerability by granting them greater access to labor protection from which they were traditionally excluded. These protections, which are taken for granted by most people include, paid vacation and holiday time, cost-of-living wage increases, health benefits, and advance notice of termination.


The passing of this law suggests that people are beginning to recognize that there is a real, if often ignored, abuse problem in contemporary society's use of domestic labor. Hopefully, with the help of organizations like Domestic Workers United and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, this growing consciousness can be translated into real change that will alleviate the current plight of many domestic workers.



讨论:什么因素导致了家庭佣工处于弱势,容易遭虐?(Discussion Question: What makes domestic workers so vulnerable to abuse?)


To learn more about this issue, visit

http://www.domesticworkersunited.org/

or  http://www.domesticworkers.org/


Sources:

Buckley, Cara. "Domestic Workers Organize to End an 'Atmosphere of Violence' on the Job." The New 
     York Times 9 June 2008: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. 

The Associated Press. "Bail is Revoked for L.I. Woman in Slavery Case." The New York Times 21 Dec. 
     2007: n. pag. The New York Times. Web. 24 Oct. 2011. 

Image:

By Iijjccoo (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

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