There are an estimated 10,000 people living in modern slavery in Hong Kong (GSI 2018). Approximately 370,000 foreign domestic workers, primarily from Indonesia and the Philippines, work in Hong Kong; some become victims of forced labour in the private homes in which they are employed. An NGO report released in 2016 estimated as many as one in six foreign domestic workers is a victim of labour exploitation. Employment agencies often charge job placement fees in excess of legal limits, and sometimes withhold identity documents, which may lead to situations of debt bondage of workers in Hong Kong. The accumulated debts sometimes amount to a significant portion of the worker’s first year salary. Some employers or employment agencies illegally withhold passports, employment contracts, or other possessions until the debt is paid. Some workers are required to work up to 17 hours per day, experience verbal, sexual or physical abuse in the home, and/or are not granted a legally required weekly day off.
ST, a 29-year-old woman from Banyuwangi, Indonesia was trafficked to Hong Kong (2011-) for work as a domestic worker.
All trainees wanting to leave the training centre to visit their family had to get a contraception injection. Without it, we couldn’t go home.
After my first employer terminated my contract, my placement agency wanted me to pay nine months in agency fees, but I negotiated it down to seven months. The agency made me sign a document that stated that my new job would only pay me HK$2,200 [US$280], despite the contract stating a salary of HK$3,580 [US$460]. I was not given a copy of this signed document.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International