Migrant Domestic Workers’ Experiences of Sexual Harassment: A Qualitative Study in Four EU Countries

Maria Papadakaki*, Nikoleta Ratsika, Lina Pelekidou, Brigitte Halbmayr, Christiana Kouta, Katrin Lainpelto, Miran Solinc, Zoe Apostolidou, Josie Christodoulou, Andrej Kohont, Jack Lainpelto, Christalla Pithara, Anna Zobnina, Joannes Chliaoutakis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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Sexual harassment against female migrant domestic workers is a public health problem, which remains hidden and largely underreported. The current paper presents the results of a qualitative research study on sexually victimized migrant domestic workers in four European countries (Austria, Cyprus, Greece, and Sweden). The study aimed at exploring the profile and experiences of victimised individuals. Data were gathered via 66 semi-structured interviews with victimised female migrant domestic workers. Key findings of the current study indicate that the victims: (a) were usually undocumented and had low local language skills; (b) identified domestic work as the only way into the labour market; (c) suffered primarily psychological, economic, and social consequences; (d) had poor social support networks; (e) were poorly connected to governmental support services. This is the first study to explore this hidden problem via direct contact with victims. Addressing barriers of migrants’ social integration seems important. Better regulation and monitoring of this low-skilled occupation could minimise risks for vulnerable employees.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)272-292
Number of pages21
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • domestic workers
  • migrant
  • undocumented
  • sexual harassment
  • violence
  • social network


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