‘I Was Just a Slave’: The Plight of Abused Filipino Workers in London

Stories of domestic workers from the Philippines falling victim to abusive employers abroad are sadly all too common and the problem isn’t just limited to certain countries known for their backward and oppressive practices. A UK newspaper recently featured a video report about victims in London, where the problem is as real as anywhere else. Luckily, there are also people who made it their mission to help.


If you randomly asked people on the street to name places where OFWs may run the risk of being abused and treated like slaves, chances are London wouldn’t be mentioned very often. Sadly, though, the busy British metropolis is not immune to unacceptable behavior by unscrupulous and usually very rich individuals, as this video report by UK newspaper The Guardian shows:

Click here to read the story on The Guardian website.

The organization dedicated to helping abused workers mentioned in the video is the Filipino Domestic Workers Association UK, and FDWA UK president Phoebe Dimicali mentioned to us that many domestic workers are suffering at the hands of abusive employers in Britain. She also said that she and her organization would welcome increased initiatives and safety measures being put in place by the government in the Philippines to save workers heading abroad from abuse.

Sadly, UK politics isn’t exactly helping when it comes to this issue.

Changes in the visa system in 2012 mean that domestic helpers can no longer change employers once in the country, a short sighted decision by the UK government that now has dire consequences for many Filipinos and other foreign workers in Britain. This tied-in visa system essentially means that domestic workers experiencing maltreatment have little to no chance to leave their employer.

Regardless of the legal situation, every human being has the right to live and work in peace and without being abused. Next to the FDWA, organizations like Kalayaan are also working for the interests of domestic workers. Kalayaan primarily provides legal advice in relation to employment and immigration for domestic workers, gives social supports such as English classes, and also acts a First Responder under the National Referral Mechanism for victims of trafficking. You can learn more about them at https://www.kalayaan.org.uk/.

For advice and more information about the FDWA UK, visit their website, Facebook page or email the organization at the below listed address: