Indonesia is the largest democracy in the world without a law to protect its domestic workers.

That may be about to change, with a bill that also paves the way to better rights for millions of Indonesians in places such as Hong Kong and Singapore. But at home, many domestic employees will miss out on the law’s protections completely.

Almost 5 million domestic staff serve as the invisible backbone of Southeast Asia’s largest economy, looking after upper-middle-class homes and freeing richer Indonesians to pursue more lucrative careers. But they are often physically and socially isolated, leaving them particularly vulnerable to exploitation, assault and modern slavery.