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.
TY, a 40-year-old woman trafficked from Ponorogo to Hong Kong (2011), explains the motivation behind the enforcement of this procedure at a training centre in Madiun.
I went home twice and both times I had to get the contraception injection before being allowed to leave the training centre. I couldn’t refuse. The staff made us get the injection because they didn’t want us getting pregnant. They told us that if we get pregnant, we can’t work in Hong Kong, which ultimately means that the recruitment agency owner would lose money that was invested in us.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International