Domestic workers comprise the largest group of female migrant workers today, and they are among the most precarious workers internationally. This article explores the aspects of the organization of domestic work that contribute to keeping it an insecure, underpaid, and underprotected sector. Because domestic work is not generally understood to be “real work,” it tends not to have the same legal labor protections that other sectors enjoy. The essay draws on research with Filipino migrants to illustrate the limitations of current state efforts at protection, and it suggests some strategies for improving the conditions of work for overseas workers.

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