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2013 (Narrative Date)

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. 

When HH, a 26-year-old woman from Trenggalek (2011-2012), was finally given a rest day, she still had to do domestic work.

Upon arrival in Hong Kong, the head of the placement agency told me that I couldn’t leave the employing household for seven months. He said I had to obey or face termination. But even after seven months, I was only given a rest day twice per month. Also, I couldn’t leave the house until 10am because I had to prepare breakfast for my employing family first and I had to return by 9pm.


Narrative provided by Amnesty International