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.
NS, a 26-year-old woman from Jakarta was trafficked to Hong Kong for domestic work.
The wife physically abused me on a regular basis. She forcibly cut my hair with the pretext that my hair had fallen in their food but that was absurd because I didn’t cook for them. Once she ordered her two dogs to bite me. I had about ten bites on my body, which broke the skin and bled. She recorded it on her mobile phone, which she constantly played back laughing. When one of the dogs vomited, she forced my face down to the vomit ordering me to eat it, but I refused. When I asked her why she kept abusing me in this way, she told me that it was because she was bored so this is how she passed the time.
I was given only one meal per day at midnight or 1am. It usually consisted of scraps of food like fish eyes and leftovers. When I ate the fish eyes, I felt sick and threw up. My employer just laughed at me.
Narrative provided by Amnesty International