Book Launch: Rhacel Salazar Parreñas – Unfree: Migrant Domestic Work in Arab States

A stirring account of the experiences of migrant domestic workers, and what freedom, abuse, and power mean within a vast contract labor system. In the United Arab Emirates, there is an employment sponsorship system known as the kafala. Migrant domestic workers within it must solely work for their employer, secure their approval to leave the country, and obtain their consent to terminate a job. In Unfree, Rhacel Salazar Parreñas examines the labor of women from the Philippines, who represent the largest domestic workforce in the country. She challenges presiding ideas about the kafala, arguing that its reduction to human trafficking is, at best, unproductive, and at worst damaging to genuine efforts to regulate this system that impacts tens of millions of domestic workers across the globe.

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