The health of migrant domestic employees: an approximation of drug use among Latin American workers residing in Catalonia



A significant part of today’s international women’s migrations are articulated around the growing “globalization of care.” Many migrants practice their social role of caregivers remotely, within a transnational strategy of reproduction of their domestic groups that materializes in the destination society with its insertion into cleaning and care tasks (Colen, 1995; Parreñas, 2001). We have found that among Latin American migrants employed in domestic service, the most recurring strategy for health problems is to try not to stop working (Offenhenden, 2014). Since drugs are one more among the multiple possibilities for managing conditions, in this article we aim to explore the uses that make them and the ways in which the logics underlying these uses inform the social relationships of those who consume them, based on ethnographic fieldwork performed in Catalonia within the framework of two ongoing doctoral investigations. The first part of the article consists of an exhibition of the projects that guide the migration of these women and their living and working conditions. In the second part, we address the uses and assessments they make of drugs in the context of care-seeking process for their everyday conditions. Finally, we include some final – albeit preliminary – reflections on this.

Maria Offenhenden (Universitat Rovira i Virgili)