Media for Labour Rights Prize 2010 to Nina Corpuz

Kasambahay means “part of the household” in Filipino and this is what domestic workers are called. They have few rights either in their home country or abroad, and many fall victim to abuse by their employers and the agencies that illegaly recruit them. Nina Corpuz investigated the conditions of domestic workers, the phenomenon of human trafficking in the Philippines and the measures taken by the government to prevent it.

In the last year, there has been a 20% increase in the number of people trafficked in the country for domestic work. The ILO Committee of Experts asked the government directly to provide it with information on the application of the law against this particular form of forced labour. Unfortunately, anti-trafficking cases are often dismissed after victims decide to settle, either because they are offered money or because they have to go back to work abroad. “It’s really sad, but it’s a matter of economic necessity. Between justice and survival, they choose survival,” comments a Filipino State Prosecutor.

The ongoing Campaign on Decent Work for Domestic Helpers is lobbying for the adoption of the Batas Kasambahay bill, which aims to give those workers decent conditions of work. The ILO considers domestic work to be among the most precarious of occupations, and the present job crisis is likely to aggravate that vulnerability. Decent work for domestic workers has been discussed at the 2010 session of the International Labour Conference with a view to setting labour standards for it.

Nina Corpuz, the author of the article “Filipino Domestic Workers: the struggle for justice and survival”, won the 2010 journalistic prize for the best story on labour rights, awarded by the International Training Centre of the ILO (ITC-ILO).

The article was selected from stories written by professional journalists who attended a course on “Communicating Labour Rights”, which the ITC-ILO holds each year. Journalists and media professionals from all over the world are trained in international labour standards. The aim is to raise public awareness of their relevance to local labour and social issues. The award ceremony will take place in Turin, Italy, on Monday 21 June 2010 at the ITC-ILO campus.

The author

Nina Corpuz is a reporter for the Philippines’ biggest TV network, the ABS-CBN Broadcasting Corporation. She has been a reporter for nine years, covering labour, education, health and politics. She also anchors a television news programme entitled “Balitang Europe” (News from Europe), which tackles the concerns of Filipino workers in Europe. Nina also hosts a public service radio programme and is a contributor to ABS-CBN’s news website.

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