The agency also undertook e-mailing all former au pairs to find out whether others had bad experiences.

Cherry, a 21-year-old Chinese au pair, said she had no problems with her host family but that agencies shouldn't just be interested in making money.

However, there are conditions included as part of the Dutch au pair residency permit to protect au pairs in the Netherlands, for example, a limit on working hours and a signed agreement on set tasks.

An au pair in Amsterdam takes care of the children, performs light cleaning duties, learns the Dutch language and about Dutch culture.

Catleya did complain to her au pair agency but nothing was done about the situation.

Her agency, Smiling Faces, said it regretted that some au pairs were not satisfied with the service provided.

The IND said it would in future do its best to work only with au pair agencies which had been checked.

It also planned to stop people from making contact with au pairs directly via the internet as they could previously do.

More than five years ago some 1,600 au pairs from outside the European Union were working in the Netherlands. Filipinas are popular because they speak good English, and have a reputation for being careful and obedient.

Abuses can be reported to the Immigration and Naturalisation Department (IND) but hardly anybody does this because the IND can rescind residence permits.

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