Denmark: au pair abuse and ‘cultural exchange’

Denmark: au pair abuse and 'cultural exchange' and Norwegian, to ban

COPENHAGEN, Sept 23 – Outfitted inside a red-and-black lumberjack shirt, jeans and athletic shoes, she looked a lot more like 16 than her actual chronilogical age of 19.

The petite au pair squeezed her hands because the policeman required her statement.

"He did not rape me, but he stored saying he desired to have physical relations beside me and desired to hug me," she stated. "That’s still wrong, is not it?"

"Obviously it’s,Inch the policeman stated.

The youthful Nepalese lady had arrived at Denmark to reside having a host family being an au pair via a plan billed like a cultural exchange programme.

Common in Europe, such programmes allow youthful people, usually women, to immerse themselves within an overseas culture while helping with day care in return for food, accommodation along with a modest allowance.

In Denmark, legal rights groups say insufficient protections leave au pairs susceptible to work exploitation and sexual harassment.

For that lady at a negative balance flannel shirt, who declined to become identified, problems had began right right from the start.

When her host father met her in the airport terminal, he held her hands, declaring that "this is the way Europeans are". As he sent her texts asking to go to her room late into the evening, she wanted a means out.

Another au pair informed her she could leave her host family to check out another, but she concerned about not finding one immediately since this means getting to fly to Nepal, penniless with financial obligations.

She’d compensated an agent there $6,000 to locate her host family. "He produced a Skype account and pretended he was me. He arranged everything. The Nepalese au pairs I have spoken to here all compensated between $4,000 and $6,000 for their brokers."

With the aid of the Au Pair Network, a consortium of work and non secular organizations funded through the Danish government, she found the courage to visit law enforcement, who’re now investigating.

"Domestic work"

"Au pair" is French for "on equal terms". The first programmes in Europe go as far back towards the years immediately after World War Two if this was among the couple of ways youthful women could travel abroad and produce cash.

In 1969, the Council of Europe adopted protocols to standardise conditions managing the keeping au pairs.

Rules vary slightly based on country. In Denmark, au pairs should be unmarried and aged 18-29. They accept host families and are meant to do "light cleaningInch for a maximum of 30 hrs per week, providing them with time for you to immerse themselves in language and culture.

As a swap, they obtain a $600 monthly allowance and free accommodation.

In fact many finish up being employed as de facto domestic servants, susceptible to sexual harassment or worse, organizations stated.

Reports of abuse and maltreatment motivated the Philippines, the greatest supply of au pairs to Denmark and Norwegian, to ban participation within the programme in 1998.

Still the au pairs came.

Denmark and Norwegian ongoing to issue au pair visas. Interviews with former Filipino au pairs says many allegedly bribed Philippine airport terminal officials known as "escorts" with around $500 to obvious them through immigration.

Others showed up on tourist visas and altered these to au pair visas after they found host families.

The Philippines lifted its ban this year if this forged contracts with 13 countries presenting protections for example workshops to tell youthful people of the legal rights and closer monitoring of allegations of abuse.

Individuals Countries in europe were Denmark, Norwegian, France, The country, Germany, Belgium, Luxembourg, Europe, holland, Belgium, Norway, Iceland, Austria, Finland and Italia.

The most recent data in the Danish Immigration Service shows which more than 80 % from the 2,000 au pairs who arrived at Denmark typically every year come from the Philippines. The remainder come from emerging economies like Nepal, other Eu countries and also the U . s . States.

"In writing, it’s a cultural exchange however in take action is much more of the domestic worker programme," stated Jean Gocotano, spokesperson for that Au Pair Network. "Some host families even say they like an au pair with domestic experience.Inch

For a lot of Filipino women, becoming an au pair in Europe continues to be much better than as being a domestic worker in the centre East or Hong Kong where they earn between $400 and $500 per month.

"The cultural programme wasn’t my priority," stated Imee, who found Denmark in the Philippines being an au pair this year. "I simply desired to leave. I had been fed up with my low-having to pay job packing pineapples."

Imee, who declined to provide her complete name, compensated a "consultant" within the Philippines $1,500 in "research charges", which incorporated searching for any host family, preparing her papers and training her to reply to interview questions in the embassy.

"Applicants wouldn’t be capable of getting that amount of cash easily," stated Hendes Cacdac, mind from the Philippine Overseas Employment Agency. "They’re going to have to gain access to that from another person."

Denmark: au pair abuse and 'cultural exchange' women, becoming an

In the Global Wage Report for 2014/2015, the Worldwide Work Organization pegs the typical monthly wage within the Philippines at $202.

Based on the Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO), the federal government agency that oversees the au pair programme, charging charges is classed as illegal recruitment.

"The au pair programme isn’t an employment plan," stated Ivy Miravelles, officer responsible for the CFO migration integration division. "However, there is no denying that there might be entities that abuse the programme and mislead participants for profit.Inch

In financial trouble

A 2014 survey of 90 au pairs by Radio 24 SYV Denmark demonstrated that around 30 % had compensated someone between $225 and $1,000 to encourage them to Europe.

"Most of the au pairs come here already in financial trouble, which makes them more pressured to help make the host family relationship work," stated Andreas Riis, au pair coordinator of Caritas Denmark, 1 of 3 support organisations that comprise the Au Pair Network.

Helle Stenum, a investigator at Denmark’s College of Roskilde and author of countless books around the au pair programme, stated "the truth that your residence permit is associated with your employer is really a well-known trap for that work market".

Lawmaker Johanne Schmidt-Nielsen, part of Denmark’s far-left Red Eco-friendly Alliance, seemed to be critical.

"Au pairs don’t have any legal rights once they get fired," he stated. "Other product protections under Danish work law since it is not considered work."

Another lawmaker, Merette Riisager from the Danish Liberal Alliance, defended the programme.

"It offers economic and cultural advantages to ladies who would normally do not have the means," she stated.

The Au Pair Network has become handling 166 cases and complaints, many of which are claims for delinquent wages.

"We must acknowledge the programme has been misused on sides, using the au pairs at much more of a drawback,Inch stated Riis from Caritas Denmark.

"We have to finish the programme, or change it out to 1 which has more powerful work protections for au pairs."

This story was supported partly through the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which provides coverage for humanitarian news, women’s legal rights, trafficking, property legal rights and global warming.

Denmark: au pair abuse and 'cultural exchange' Others showed up on tourist

In Denmark, au pairs risk abuse in name of "cultural exchange"


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