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.
TR, a 29-year-old woman was trafficked from Indramayu, Indonesia to Hong Kong for domestic work.
There was a policy at the training centre which required all trainees to have very short hair. So, I had no choice but to cut my hair like a boy.
The elderly woman – the mother of my employer – always called me bad names, and slapped me on my face and shoulder whenever she wasn’t pleased with my work performance. After one year, I ran away because I couldn’t stand the hitting or the constant criticism anymore.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International