UN: At least 52 million domestic workers globally, many are women excluded from labour laws

GENEVA – The U.N.’s labour agency says at least 52.6 million people worldwide are domestic workers, most of them women caring for others’ families and households without adequate legal protections.

In its first such report on the size of the domestic workforce, the U.N. Labor Organization calls the estimate, based on 2010 data, a minimum figure that is likely to be tens of millions of people higher due to underreporting by countries.

The agency’s report Wednesday says the figures exclude domestic workers below the age of 15 who are considered children, and were last estimated to number 7.4 million in 2008.

It says 83 per cent of domestic workers are women — often vulnerable to abuse — and 90 per cent lack the general labour protections enjoyed by other workers.