《经济学人》:家政工作,释放女佣
日期:2011-07-15 10:34

(单词翻译:单击)

Domestic workers
家庭女佣

Free the maids
释放女佣

A new treaty aims to stop abuse
旨在禁止虐待的新条约

Jun 23rd 2011 | from the print edition

WITHOUT them many an economy would grind to a halt: the global army of between 50m and 100m domestic workers, most of them women and children. Yet tucked away in kitchens and nurseries, mainly in the Middle East and Asia, their wages often go unpaid, they are rarely granted any time off, and many face physical and sexual abuse.

全球约有五千万到一亿的家政服务大军,如果没有他们,许多经济都会慢慢停下来。他们中的大多数人是妇女和儿童。他们忙碌在中东和亚洲的一些国家的厨房和托儿所,他们常常拿不到应得的报酬,很少有假期,许多人经常遭遇肉体和性方面的虐待。

The International Labour Organisation (ILO) hopes to change all this with a new treaty adopted on June 16th at its annual conference. The Convention Concerning Decent Work for Domestic Workers has been three years in the making. Its goal is to limit working hours, guarantee weekly days off, ensure a minimum wage and protect domestic workers from violent employers.

国际劳工组织6月16日在其年会上通过了一项新条约,希望藉此改变所有这一切。《家政工人体面工作协定》已酝酿三年。其目的在于:限制工人的工作时间,保证工人每周得到休息,确保最低工资,保护家政人员免受雇主暴力侵犯。

Only a few delegates—government officials as well as national representatives of employers and workers—voted against (Swaziland and a couple of employer groups, including the Confederation of British Industry), but there were some notable abstentions. Predictably, they included Malaysia. A series of abuse cases led Indonesia to ban its citizens from going to work there as maids from 2009 until May this year. More surprisingly, the British government, too, preferred not to vote either way. It said the treaty would be too onerous, particularly the parts regulating working hours and health and safety.

只有几个代表团——雇主、家政工人的政府官员或国家代表——投票反对(斯韦士兰和包括英国行业联合会在内的几个雇主小组),但也有几国弃权,颇为引人注目。其中包括马来西亚,这一点可以预见。因为马来西亚发生了一系列的虐待案件,印尼自2009年到今年5月,禁止本国公民去马来西来做仆工。最令人感到惊奇的是,英国政府也弃权了。他们认为这项条约太过苛刻,特别是那些涉及工作时间和健康安全方面的规定。

In contrast, the six wealthy monarchies of the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC), where abuse of domestic workers is common, had a change of heart. Initially, they opposed the convention, arguing that it was not only impractical, but unnecessary: workers, they said, were treated like members of the families who employed them—though ask Sumiati Binti Salan Mustapa, a maid whose Saudi employer stabbed, beat and burned her. This year the GCC shifted its position and even suggested several changes that strengthened the treaty.

相反,虐仆事件屡见不鲜的6个富裕的海湾合作理事会君主国却改变了立场。一开始他们反对这项协定,坚持认为这项协定不仅不切实际,而且没有必要:他们声称雇主都已经将仆人当作自家人对待了 — 不过最好还是问问穆斯塔法,她曾被沙特雇主用刺,打和烫的手段虐待过。今年海湾合作理事会国家改变了立场,还为完善条约提出了一些更改的建议。

The convention now has to be ratified by governments, which is likely to take several years. Some countries may never follow through, despite having voted for the treaty. In the meantime, abuses continue, although things have recently improved. In the Middle East several countries are drafting legislation about domestic workers and are looking to the convention for guidance. Others now have hotlines for domestic workers to report abuse.

约定还须征得政府的批准,这项程序也许会延续几年时间。有些国家尽管投票支持了这项条约,但也有可能无法坚持到最后。同时虐仆事件还在持续,尽管最近情况有了好转。中东几个国家正在起草有关家政工人的法律,希望以此约定作为指导。其他国家现在也为家政人员报告虐仆事件开通了热线。

Yet the most encouraging local change is the emergence of many Facebook groups and blogs, such as Migrant Rights, that talk about abuse. They show that younger people in the Middle East and Asia are increasingly embarrassed about the exploitation of expatriate workers in their countries. That may do as much as any treaty to improve the plight of domestic workers.

但最令人感到鼓舞的变化是诸如“移民权利”这样的许多脸谱小组和博客的出现,他们对虐仆问题展开讨论。他们表示,中东和亚洲的许多年轻人对于剥削外来移民工人的行为渐渐感到羞愧。这也许会与条约一样能为提高家政工人的困境有所帮助。

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重点单词
  • decentadj. 体面的,正派的,得体的,相当好的
  • impracticaladj. 不切实际的,不实用的
  • opposedadj. 反对的,敌对的 v. 和 ... 起冲突,反抗
  • conferencen. 会议,会谈,讨论会,协商会
  • legislationn. 立法,法律
  • guaranteen. 保证,保证书,担保,担保人,抵押品 vt. 保证,
  • conventionn. 大会,协定,惯例,公约
  • initiallyadv. 最初,开头
  • contrastn. 差别,对比,对照物 v. 对比,成对照 [计算机]
  • emergencen. 出现,浮现,露出