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2018年4月湖北自考英语(二)阅读理解翻译辅导(7)

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Slavery on Our Doorstep

There are estimated to be more than 20,000 overseas domestic servants working in Britain (the exact figure is not known because the Home Office, the government department that deals with this, does not keep statistics). Usually, they have been brought over by foreign businessmen, diplomats or Britons returning from abroad. Of these 20,000, just under 2,000 are being exploited and abused by their employers, according to a London-based campaigning group which helps overseas servants working in Britain.

The abuse can take several forms. Often the domestics are not allowed to go out, and they do not receive any payment. They can be physically, sexually and psychologically abused. And they can have their passports removed, making leaving or "escaping" virtually impossible.

The sad condition of women working as domestics around the world received much media attention earlier this year in several highly publicised cases. In one of them, a Filipino maid was executed is Singapore after being convicted of murder, despite protests from various quarters that her guilt had not been adequately established.

Groups like Anti-Slavery International say other, less dramatic, cases are equally deserving of attention, such as that of Lydia Garcia, a Filipino maid working in London:"I was hired by a Saudi diplomat directly form the Philippines to work in London in 1989. I was supposed to be paid £120 but I never received that amount. They always threatened that they would send me back to my country."

Then there is the case of Kumari from Sri Lanka. The main breadwinner in her family, she used to work for a very low wage at a tea factory in Sri Lanka. Because she found it difficult to feed her four children, she accepted a job working as a domestic in London. She says she felt like a prisoner at the London house where she worked:"No days off - ever, no breaks at all, no proper food. I didn't have my own room; I slept on a shelf with a space of only three feet above me. I wasn't allowed to talk to anybody. I wasn't even allowed to open the window. My employers always threatened to report me to the Home Office or the police."

At the end of 1994 the British Government introduced new measures to help protect domestic workers from abuse by their employers. This included increasing the minimum age of employees to 18, getting employees to read and understand an advice leaflet, getting employers to agree to provide adequate maintenance and conditions, and to put in writing the main terms and conditions of the job (of which the employees should see a copy).

However, many people doubt whether this will successfully reduce the incidence of abuse. For the main problem facing overseas maids and domestics who try to complain about cruel living and working conditions is that they do not have independent immigrant status and so cannot change employer. (They are allowed in the United Kingdom under a special concession in the immigration rules which allows foreigners to bring domestic staff with them.) So if they do complain, they risk being deported.

Allowing domestic workers the freedom to seek the same type of work but with a different employer, if the so choose, is what groups like Anti-Slavery International are campaigning the Government for. It is, they say, the right to change employers which distinguishes employment from slavery.

我们身边的奴役

据估计,在英国工作的外籍家庭佣人有两万多人。通常,他们是被外国商人、外交官和从国外归来的英国人带来的。根据某个设在伦敦的帮助在英国做工的外籍佣人的政治组织说,两万名佣人中有近两千人被他们的雇主剥削、虐待。虐待有多种形式:家仆常不许外出或得不到工钱;有的家仆还受到肉体、性或精神方面的虐待;还有的护照遭到没收,这样他们走也走不了,逃也逃不掉。

今年早些时候引起大众高度注意的事件中,全世界女佣的悲惨状况得到了媒体的注意。其中一件是,一个菲律宾女佣在被判杀谋杀罪后,在新加坡被处决,尽管各方面都抗议她的罪行尚未充分证实。一些组织如"反奴役国际"称还有一些案件虽然没有菲律宾女佣案那么具有戏剧性,也同样值得关注。如在伦敦做事的菲籍女佣迪亚加西亚一案:"1989年一个沙特外交官直接把我从菲律宾雇来到伦敦工作。说是一个月120镑,但多从没有拿过那么多。她还经常吓唬我,说要把我送回国去。"

此外,还有来自斯里兰卡的库马里事件。她家主要靠她赚钱维持生计,她曾在斯里兰卡一家茶场挣一份微薄的工资。因为她发现很难养活她的四个孩子,就接受了在伦敦做佣人的一份工作。她说在伦敦那所她工作的房子里感觉像个囚犯。"不放假,也不让休息,连一口像样的饭也吃不上。而且我没有自己的房间,让我睡在壁橱的隔板上,躺上去,身子离上面的隔板只有三尺来高,还不容许我跟别人说话,连窗户也不让开。雇主动不动就吓唬说要向内政部或警察告我的状。"

1993年末英国政府采取了新措施,?;ぜ矣恫辉偈芄椭鞯钠鄹?。其中包括把雇佣的年龄提高到18岁,让雇佣新闻记者并理解一份有建议的宣传材料,使雇主同意提供适当的生活费用和条件,把工作的主要条款和条件形成文字。

但是,这些措施能否有效地减少虐待的发生,很多人感到怀疑。外籍女佣和家仆虽有意对恶劣的生活和工作条件提出控诉,但主要的问题是他们没有独立的移民身份,因此不能改换雇主,故而他们敢发泄不满的话,就有被遣送回国的可能。

做家仆的人有选择雇主的自由,这也就是"反奴役国际"这类组织努力促使政府去实现的事。这类组织说,正是改换雇主的权利划清了雇佣和奴役的界限。

 


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