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.
JE, a 37-year-old woman from Trenggalek, reported having experienced sexual harassment at a training centre in Jakarta.
A male staff groped me, touching my breasts. When it happened a second time, I complained to a female staff who told him to stop and he did.
I worked for a large family in a three-storey house from 6am to 1am with only one day off per month, but the agency just said that I had to accept it, as it was the nature of the job. I also complained about the illegal [non-domestic] work that I was forced to do. Three times per week, I had to hand deliver letters to my employer’s mobile phone company clients. Whenever I was doing this work, I was so scared that the police or immigration might arrest me. But the agency told me that it was not a problem and just told me to continue doing it.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International