The new parents of a nine-month-old baby daughter were slammed online after they posted an ad seeking a live-in babysitter who'll cook and do other household chores in exchange for essentially room and board.
The ad was featured in the Choosing Beggars subReddit, where it was met with backlash.
The couple enticed prospective applicants by greeting them as "Lovely people," and said they were looking for an au pair or babysitter to join them in the winter, with a possible extension all year.
They said they have recently decided to venture back into online business after "embracing the slow pace of life" and "adjusting" to new family dynamics.
The ad continued:
“Nestled in our picturesque land in [redacted], we offer a place in our caravan during the tranquil winter months."
“As we start to focus a bit more on our professions, we need a compassionate individual to care for our baby for a few hours each day and assist with various tasks around the home."
"This might include walking the dogs on some days, or preparing a meal on others.”
The vague language suggests there might be more in store for applicants lured in by the idyllic setting, which Redditors thought was shady.
Especially when they read the part about compensation.
“While most hours are in exchange for accommodation and meals, there are also some paid hours,” the post stated.
“Please contact me privately for more details on compensation.”
One Redditor had a more direct description of what the family was seeking.
"That's a slave."
"A person you feed and house in a sh**ty space separate from your house that does whatever you want whenever you want in exchange for nothing is called a slave."
The Daily Dot noted that for the scenario to fit the description of slavery as suggested by several others in the thread:
"The couple would have to take steps to prevent the worker from leaving the position, but there are situations remarkably similar to what this post describes that happen a lot more than you would like to think."
A worst-case scenario entails the worker finding themselves getting into a situation they can't leave.
The outlet said that according to the 2022 report on Global Estimates of Modern Slavery:
"1.4 million people globally are trapped in forced labor in the domestic sector, which includes childcare and household tasks."
"One of the key features of this type of slavery is 'payment' in the form of food and a place to sleep."
"Victims are often lured into these positions with the promise of payment and then denied the ability to leave when they find out the compensation isn’t coming."
Another Redditor agreed and chimed in with more translations.
"Agreed. I’ve also cleared up some other definitions for them:"
"‘Holistic Lifestyle’ = No vaccines/medical care."
"‘Online business’ = MLM or ‘influencers’."
"‘Various tasks around the house’ = completely maintaining our home & serving us."
Withholding the specifics of the pay rate in advertisements is a huge red flag.
It usually indicates that the employer is offering a lot less than what a worker would find acceptable.
There was also a discussion among users who found the use of the term "au pair" in the ad unsettling.
Au pairs are typically from foreign countries and English is not their primary language, therefore making them vulnerable to exploitation.
Redditors continued weighing in with criticism.
So, who's applying?