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Sexual Assault of Caregivers, Nannies, and Immigrant workers

Immigrant Caregiver sexual assault in Canada.

Every year, thousands of immigrants come to Canada from countries like the Philippines, China, and India to work as live in caregivers and nannies. The caregiver is required to live in the same house of their employer for a period of at least 2 years, which creates a situation that is ripe for sexual assault and exploitation.

As a result, some caregivers experience sexual assault while living with their employer as live in caregivers.

Given that many young Filipino women have waited and worked hard for many years for the opportunity to come to Canada, they are extremely vulnerable to sexual assault while living with their employers.

Vulnerability of Immigrant Caregivers

Canada admits thousands of immigrant nannies or caregivers every year primarily from the Philippines. Many of the caregivers are young women who have worked for years in substandard conditions while they gained experience and waited for the opportunity to move to Canada. In the live in caregiver program, the immigrant is required to live with their employer for at least two years.

There is a significant imbalance of power in that the caregiver needs the employer to cooperate with the immigration process by filling out the required paperwork and certifying that they meet the requirements of the program. If an employer fails to do this properly, the immigrant could be deported and lose the opportunity to live and work permanently in Canada.

There is thus an incredible imbalance of power. New immigrants are extremely vulnerable and are can be targets for sexual exploitation by their employers. When this is combined with the fact that the immigrant caregiver is living full time with their employer, a situation immerses that can lead to sexual assaults.

The caregiver is also vulnerable in that she is usually under an incredible pressure to be successful in immigrating to Canada in order to support her family back home in the Philippines (children, parents, brothers and sisters). Many have the dual goals of both financially supporting their families back home and eventually sponsoring members of their family to move to Canada themselves.

Further, given that many immigrant caregivers and nannies have experience working in very poor working conditions prior to coming to Canada, many are under the false belief that they just have to "put up with it" until they reach the two years and are eligible for permanent residence.

Sexual Assault of Filipino caregivers

It doesn't matter what country a person comes from or what their immigration status is: sexual assault is a crime. Canadian employers who sponsor live in caregivers and sexually assault them can be both charged with criminal offenses and sued civilly for their actions.

Employer Threats
Some employers may threaten the nanny or caregiver by telling them that nobody will believe them and that they will intentionally try to block their immigration application. Caregivers that are being sexually assaulted by their employers should report them to the police.

Employers who sponsor are typically wealthy and powerful

Sponsoring an immigrant live in caregiver requires significant financial resources and thus employers tend to be wealthy individuals. It can be extremely intimidating for an immigrant from a poor country living with a rich Canadian employer to report sexual assaults to the police. Many sexually abused caregivers feel nobody will believe them and they will lose their chance to immigrate to Canada if they report the sexual assault.

We are dedicated to educating immigrant caregivers about their legal protections in Canadian law against being sexually assaulted. If they report the crime to the police, they will be taken seriously and their employer can be charged and punished if they simply tell their story. If they are telling the truth, no matter how rich or powerful there employer is, they can and will be punished for their actions.

Immigrants can sue employers for sexual assault

In addition to possible criminal charges, employers who sexually assault immigrant caregivers can also sue them for financial compensation. In Canada, sexual assault lawsuits commonly settle and produce judgments in excess of $100,000. In fact, some cases have produced judgments in excess of $1,000,000.

Given that many employers who sponsor immigrants to be caregivers are wealthy individuals who own valuable real estate in areas like Toronto and Vancouver, it is also possible to collect on amounts awarded by the courts.

If you have been or are being sexually assaulted by your employer, you deserve to be financially compensated for your pain and suffering. The effects of sexual assault are severe and can negatively impact you for the rest of your life. A sexual assault can impair both your ability to work and your peace of mind.

Employers who take advantage of nannies and caregivers need to be reported and stopped. As more people are charged with sex crimes against immigrants, more will be deterred for doing so in the future.

Reporting Sexual Assault in Canada is okay

Many immigrant nannies and caregivers have worked abroad in countries like Singapore, Hong Kong, and the Philippines prior to moving to Canada. They experienced working in conditions that would be considered abused and inappropriate in these countries. This includes verbally abusive employers, extremely long hours, no freedom or time off, and working for almost no pay. As a result, they have been conditioned that they must just simply accept poor treatment. This is not the case in Canada.

We want to educate immigrants so they understand that in Canada they have rights and do not have to accept abusive working conditions, particular sexual assault by an employer. If you are an immigrant caregiver, you have the power to both report and sue your employer for their crimes against you.

Don't listen to your family back home.

Many families of immigrant caregivers in Canada have a vested interest in the the immigrant caregiver moving to Canada. They both benefit from financial assistance being sent back home, and a potential future path to immigration themselves. When this vested interest is combined with a lack of understanding regarding the protections given to the sexually abused in Canada, many families may encourage their caregiver relative to just "put up with" the sexual abuse. This is wrong and inappropriate.

Immigrants who move to Canada need to understand that their family back home likely has very little appreciation or understanding of how things work here. Furthermore, they are depending on your for financial support and thus may try to convince you not to do anything if you are being sexually assaulted. Don't listen to them.

There is plenty of support in Canada for victims of sexual assault. Vulnerable immigrant caregivers and nannies need to understand that if their families back home tell them to keep their mouths shut and put up with sexual assault they are providing them with extremely bad advice. You don't have to put up with that here.

Disclaimer: All information on this page is of a general nature and may not apply to any specific circumstance. It is not to be construed as legal advice or presumed to be completely accurate, or infinitely up to date. If you have questions regarding your case, please contact a local lawyer immediately because there are time limitations on civil claims. Failure to contact a local lawyer immediately could prevent you from making a claim.

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