IOM, Social Work Society Celebrate International Domestic Workers Day in Kuwait

Gender and Migration, Labour Migration

Kuwait City — On the occasion of this week’s International Domestic Workers Day (16 June), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Kuwait marked the day with a series of events managed in cooperation with the Social Work Society (SWS).  

Approximately 660,000 women work as cleaners, nannies, cooks and laundresses for Kuwaiti households. Most come from Southeast Asian states such as the Philippines and Indonesia. A growing number are labour migrants from Sub Saharan Africa. 

IOM began its outreach to households and household workers two days before the date’s “official” observance at Kuwait’s Avenues Mall on 14-15 June. IOM staff distributed cards reading “Thank You” to employers of domestic workers, with the encouragement to offer those cards to domestic employees in their households as a token of the family’s appreciation. 

Domestic workers were also encouraged to visit an information booth manned by IOM staff to receive flowers and colourful frames where they may keep their Thank You cards. This outreach activity was the first of its kind and was well received by the public. 

A second event took place on the day of International Domestic Workers Day (June 16) at the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), which is the Kuwait Government Shelter for Female Migrant Workers. Activities organized for shelter residents there included group motivational sessions, yoga classes, art classes and two types of dance classes. 

In tandem with both events, IOM undertook a social media rollout to highlight Kuwait’s domestic workers law 68/2015, adopted in 2015, which specifies the rights and obligations of employer and employee in household work. Four years later, there continue to be common misconceptions about the law, regarding such areas as withholding documents and transferring employment of domestic workers. The social media rollout targeted households, with an aim to raise awareness about the domestic workers law so that households respect its regulations when recruiting domestic help. 

An integral part of IOM’s mission is to provide services and advice concerning good migration governance and to support migrant workers. IOM’s mission in Kuwait continues to provide any needed support to the government shelter by providing assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) to vulnerable migrants and organizing entertainment events which aim to provide positive support for their emotional wellbeing. 

The State of Kuwait is committed to protecting the rights of domestic workers, IOM believes. In 2013, an anti-trafficking law was officially established, which ensures that the rights of domestic workers are fully protected.  

For more information please contact: Dana Al-Othman, IOM Kuwait, Tel: + 965 9726 7680, Email: 

  • An employer with her family passed by the IOM booth with her 6 domestic workers to give them thank you cards and gifts. Photo: IOM

  • Residents at the Shelter for Female Migrant Workers during a Latin dance class on the International Domestic Workers Day. Photo: IOM