About the Exhibition

More can, and must, be done to protect domestic workers.

No one should work the way these people have worked.

Most of them are women, but we met one young man. We travelled to Indonesia, Nepal, the Philippines and Hong Kong. We heard workplace stories that involved physical, mental and verbal abuse, child labour, forced labour, trafficking, rape, imprisonment, starvation, unpaid wages and restrictions on movement and communication.

The people we met, interviewed and photographed were employed as domestic workers.

Most had gone abroad from their homeland to another country in Asia or in the Gulf region. Some were abused in their own country. What links them is poverty, limited choices and a lack of protection mechanisms that most workers take for granted.

Their abusers are equally varied—rich and poor, male and female, families and individuals.

The cases included here are not isolated incidents.

The International Labour Organization, which funded this work, estimates there are more than 52 million domestic workers in the world, more than 21 million of whom are in Asia and the Pacific. These workers make a valuable contribution to the economic development and social well-being of almost every country in the world. They have the same rights as every other working individual. More can, and must, be done to protect them.

We started this work because we believe the public needs to see how the abuse scars lives as much as bodies. We want the evidence to help make the case for labour law protection for domestic workers.

The photos and stories included here are to help encourage greater ratification of the ILO Domestic Workers Convention, No. 189 and changes in national labour laws. Currently, most countries do not include domestic worker in their labour laws. The traveling photo exhibition is available for advocacy purposes.

The stories are also intended to help inform anyone thinking of pursuing domestic work. We know decency can’t be legislated, but we want the abusers to know the public is now aware of what is going on behind their doors.

Images in Exhibition

25 High Resolution Images

Exhibitions to Date

Global Photo Exhibitions

Publications & Print

Global Media Coverage

These photos are available as an exhibition. The minimal cost covers printing and shipping. Please note that photos are to be destroyed after each exhibition.


Nining Hayati: Abused in Jordan


Pavitra: Abused in Oman


Haryatin: Abused in Saudi Arabia