May Belen Untalan
“I would like to build my confidence in public speaking and be on the front-line of campaigns to help change the current poor working and living conditions of migrant domestic workers.”
I am May Belen, I am 61 years old and a single mother. Being from a poor family and the breadwinner of seven siblings was very difficult, especially since I was raising my son alone. This is the reason why I worked abroad, where I was abused and trafficked. I worked as a domestic worker for almost two decades in the Middle East and for five years in the UK. I was recently identified as a victim of modern slavery and trafficking. I worked in the UK as a carer for an elderly person in a private home. The work was 24 hours a day because there was no other employee to replace me. I had a day off every Sunday but only 8 hours, so I spent this time attending the activities and classes of Voice of Domestic Workers to raise awareness of the stories of domestic workers, and how justice is needed for all of us.
I was restless and overworked in this employer, so I changed to another employer. I found another job that was only part-time as a carer but this elderly person passed away so I had to look again for another job so I could continue supporting my family. I found a full-time job as a nanny, a new task but I have experience of looking after children. I worked 5.5 days a week which is better. Finally, I felt that I am a worker because my pay is better than before, and I am able to pay my tax and NI. I can also provide better for my family. I know everything is temporary and I don’t know what is going to happen after my two-year Overseas Domestic Worker Visa expires but I will continue to be active and help the VODW in the campaign which I know is for all domestic workers.
Being part of the Voice of Domestic Workers helps me to show the world what happens behind closed doors for domestic workers and how we can promote our visibility in society. I am just living normally like any other human being but I am happy I can contribute in my own little way.