”Charlotte” is a 29-year-old woman from the Philippines, working in Denmark as an au pair. She has left her three young children back home almost two years ago.
She says she left the Philippines to give them a better life and a better future, and that she is the sole provider forher family. Since she moved to Denmark, she has stayed with four different families.
In her first placement, which was facilitated by an agency in Singapore that Charlotte had to bribe her way into, she had no concept of what an au pair was and was unaware of her rights in Denmark. She worked for more than sixteen hours a day for 1300 DKK a month.
"You can pick your passport up at the police"
When the family moved across the country, Charlotte, who is Catholic, made friends with other au pairs in the Pentecostal Church. They explained that she had the right to a five-hour workday and an allowance of 2500 DKK a months. Realizing that she had been abused, Charlotte left her host family, leaving her passport and return ticket.
A week later, her former employer called to say she could pick up both at a nearby police station. She only found her passport. She says that au pairs need to learn that they have the right to say ”no”.
Taking care of other people's children
Charlotte still works as an au pair in Denmark and sends home a couple of thousand DKK a month. Her children always ask when she will come home. She plans to go back to the Philippines for a while in October,but hopes to return as an au pair in another European country afterwards, most likely Norway.
”I take care of other people’s children, without knowing if anyone takes care of mine,” she says.
“Charlotte” is not the woman’s real name. Avisen.dk knows her full name.
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