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Between Family and Market: The Legal Regulation of Household Care Work in Globalizing Economies: Housewivery, Domestic Work, and Sex Work

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A tool to help reform the home care market

An EU-funded project has created a tool to better understand the problems faced in the home care market. Advancements in the area can be used for sector reforms.

Industrial Technologies

The home care market is considered to be paid work related to traditional conceptions of household work and is plagued by exploitation and poor regulation. In some cases, this can lead to abuse, human trafficking and general labour law violations.Researchers on the CAREWORKFAMILYMARKET project took a deeper look at the dynamics of this market to hopefully inspire needed reforms. CAREWORKFAMILYMARKET developed a tool called a distributive framework to examine housewivery, domestic work, sex work and mail order brides.Its analysis is divided along class and gender lines and offers a cross-section of the legal system. It considers the impact of different areas of law (family, welfare, employment and immigration) on the markets. As part of the analysis, CAREWORKFAMILYMARKET compared the legal frameworks in Israel, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as in other EU countries such as the Netherlands and Sweden.The project found that while welfare, family, labour and immigration laws all affect the operation of paid domestic work, immigration laws are the most important. CAREWORKFAMILYMARKET demonstrated the usefulness of its distributive framework in several publications on employment, welfare and immigration law. It also examined the international regulation of care markets, labour migration and human trafficking.CAREWORKFAMILYMARKET's tool and research broaden the understanding of the impact of legal structures on care work and on the distribution of wealth and political power. Additionally, project outcomes shed light on the construction of gender images and gendered realities.Project members hope the new perspective will raise awareness of the problems in the sector on a local and an international level, leading to new policy approaches.


Immigration, household work, care work, legal framework, human trafficking, labour

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