Simel Esim (left) is Head and Senior Technical Specialist at the Cooperatives Unit International Labour Organization. Lenore Matthew is a Cooperatives Unit Intern.
The 104th International Labour Conference has voted for the adoption of a Recommendation on transition from the informal to the formal economy after two years of deliberations.
It was the first ever international labour standard specifically aimed at tackling the informal economy, which comprises more than half of the world’s workforce.
Rahel was confined for more than two years in her employer’s home in Beirut, 13 years ago.
She explained that for six months her only contact with any person outside her employer’s immediate family was through hand signals across the roofs to another woman. After some time she realised she could converse with some Sudanese kitchen workers in a hotel that backed onto her employer’s house. Through a sealed window she established her first verbal contact beyond that of the “madam’s” family, but she never saw their faces.