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.
NU, a 31-year old woman from Ponorogo, Indonesia was trafficked to Hong Kong for domestic work.
The staff at the training centre in Surabaya checked us upon arrival and confiscated our mobile phone. We were only allowed to receive incoming calls to the office phone on Sundays – outgoing calls were strictly for emergency situations. I received calls three times in eight months.
When I started work in Hong Kong, my employer took my passport and Hong Kong ID card. I never asked for them because the agencies in Indonesia and Hong Kong both warned me against it. I don’t know about my contract because I’m not sure what it looks like.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International