Domestic Slavery in Canada

Domestic Slavery in Canada

VANCOUVER - As further details emerge about the plight of a woman forced into domestic slavery by a Vancouver couple, immigrant groups said abuse of foreign workers is frighteningly common.

The 38-year-old Filipina was allegedly forced to work around the clock, and suffered emotional and physical abuse from a Vancouver family who had brought her to Canada in 2008 from Hong Kong, said Jane Ordinario of Migrante BC, the Filipino organization that encouraged the nanny to fight back.

“She was emotionally distraught,” Ordinario said. “She’s overworked, paid minimum wage and not able to take a day off to see her peers or fellow Filipinos. That’s what she was crying over when we met her.”

The woman told the support agency she had a cup of milk thrown in her face by a family member when she didn’t properly warm it for one of the children. She threatened to call 911 and the family told her to go ahead, the unnamed woman told Migrante BC.

“I commend her for her courage,” Ordinario said. “It’s not easy when you don’t have status in Canada.”

When police arrived at the East Vancouver home, they discovered the woman was working in the country illegally, her visitor’s visa expired and the couple had confiscated her passport after her arrival in Canada.

Ordinario said because there is no agency that monitors living and working conditions for domestic workers in Canada, conditions are frequently deplorable.

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