Please, Thank you and Sorry - Brokering Migration and Constructing Identities for Domestic Work in Ghana
Teye, Joseph Kofi
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Drawing on interviews with migrant domestic workers and brokers in Accra-Tema, the capital city of Ghana, this paper throws light on the everyday practices of brokers in producing ideal workers for urban middle class and expatriate families as well as overseas employment. The authors map the different kinds of brokers who are involved in the selection and placement of domestic workers and show how they filter and represent workers to potential employers. Women and girls from the poorer north and Volta regions are positioned into precarious employment with an ever-present risk of abuse, non-payment and sexual exploitation. In the absence of effective state protection these workers depend heavily on brokers for negotiating better working conditions and switching jobs if they are in a difficult position. By examining such dynamics the authors demonstrate how the process of brokerage itself offers these workers opportunities for exercising agency that have the potential of setting them on an upward path. The authors conclude with calls for a more nuanced and differentiated understanding of the role and the practices of brokers to better inform Ghana's efforts to minimise exploitation of domestic workers.
CitationAwumbila, M.; Deshingkar, P.; Kandilige, L.; Teye, J.K. and Setrana, M. (2019) 'Please, thank you and sorry – brokering migration and constructing identities for domestic work in Ghana', Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 45:14, 2655-2671, DOI: 10.1080/1369183X.2018.1528097
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