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Justice for Migrant Domestic Workers by Christian Action

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Campaign Details

Event

Justice for Migrant Domestic Workers

by Christian Action

Background

There are about 8% of the Hong Kong population is of ethnic minority background, this includes 390,000 migrant domestic helpers who are working around the clock to serve Hong Kong families, caring for the children and elderly. Many of them do not understand their basic rights and the different kinds of labour protection available to them. Some frequently encounter unreasonable treatment including long working hours, undesirable living environments, leave deduction, wage default, exploitation by employment agencies, etc. There are even cases of physical and mental abuse, as well as sexual harassment. As many migrant domestic workers do not know how to seek assistance, they frequently endure the abuse silently. Christian Action offers paralegal assistance, crisis management and emergency shelter for those who have nowhere to go during their court appeals.

The Centre for Migrant Domestic Workers provides:

  • Crisis intervention by providing legal advice and assistance for MDWs who may have a variety of cases, such as labour, immigration, criminal, etc.
  • Shelter housing for those who have lost their employment and have no place to stay while waiting for their case to be closed.
  • Comprehensive assistance and guidance to those who have been unfairly treated by their employers, agencies, and other institutions.
  • Assistance and care for those who need medical care.

 

 

Why should you help?

Since 1993, Christian Action has been providing service programmes for migrant domestic workers to help them fight for their rights and to provide suitable protection. At the same time, this service programme also provides a platform where we seek justice together. Apart from providing suitable services and assistance, we also try to raise awareness about the plight of migrant domestic workers to enhance society’s understanding of their situation and eradicate prejudice and discrimination. 

 

Case to Share

Yenny – from Indonesia

Yenny started work in Hong Kong in January 2017. She was immediately given an unbearable workload from 7am to past midnight caring for four adults and two toddlers. Additionally, she also worked at the employer’s store that mainly operates gambling. Yenny was not aware that work at the store under her visa was illegal. She never received statutory holidays and endured untreated diabetes and a ligament injury.

Two days after Yenny politely insisted that she would not renew her contract, the employer’s daughter-in-law accused her of stealing money from the house and called the police. Police came and brought her to the station for interrogation and to record a statement. Due to this false accusation, Yenny lost her job immediately! She pleaded not guilty and felt completely lost about where to go and what to do. Luckily, she was referred to stay in our shelter.

Our paralegal team assisted her by having a pro-bono lawyer who helped her to claim her entitlements at the Labour Department and Tribunal. Under the assessment of The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Hong Kong, Yenny could be categorized as a victim of human trafficking.  

During Yenny’s stay of more than 100 days at the shelter, we witnessed how she grew from being pessimistic and apathetic to having confidence to face the future. When she first arrived, her physical condition was very weak due to diabetes and her swollen leg. She was overcome with worry. After much encouragement, she finally attended physiotherapy 7 times with good results. We referred her to a doctor, who observed her blood sugar level, medications, and diet.  

In early October 2019, the prosecutor offered no evidence against Yenny, so she was acquitted. Furthermore, her former employer paid all entitlements including sick leave payment, the salary she was owed, air tickets, rest day compensation, one-month salary in lieu of notice, annual leave, and loss of income.

 

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Funds raised on this page will go to:

Christian Action

to serve those who are disadvantaged, marginalised, displaced or abandoned