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A Critique of the Use of Modern Slavery and Trafficking Frameworks in the Fight against Migrant Domestic Workers’ Vulnerability

image of European Journal of Migration and Law

Once an overlooked theme in legal scholarship, the legal treatment of migrant domestic workers has recently seen a significant growth of scholarly interest. In European legal scholarship, much of the focus has been on severe forms of exploitation such as slavery, forced labour and trafficking. While extreme abuses of migrant domestic workers certainly do take place in Europe, they are only part of the story. This article critiques the turn to modern slavery and trafficking as the dominant frame for analysing migrant domestic workers’ vulnerability in Europe and proposes a corrective lens. I argue that it is instead more useful, and potentially more deeply transformative, to comparatively examine the role of national labour and migration law regimes in the regulation of migrant domestic workers, as well as, the role of EU law in constructing and challenging these regimes.

Affiliations: 1: Goethe University Frankfurt am Main


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