NEWS – A Thousand March Demanding Justice for Elis

Dressed in black and wearing headbands, up to 300 domestic workers protested outside the Indonesian Consulate in Causeway Bay demanding Justice for Elis. Elis, a domestic worker from Indonesia, died tragically after a 60kg concrete block fell on her at the Sunlight Agency hostel where she was staying.

They demanded changes to the Indonesian Government rules that require all domestic workers to be employed through agencies. This, they say allows for exploitation of domestic workers as the agencies are often unregulated, or regulations are unenforced.


NEWS – Update: Justice for Elis Collection Surpasses HK$20,000

The JusticeForElis.com campaign has so far raised over HK$20,000 for Elis Kurniasih’s family.

Elis, a domestic worker, died after being crushed by a concrete blog at her agency accommodation. Mission for Migrant Workers reported that her family was under pressure from the agency and Indonesian authorities to ‘settle’ rather than pursue legal action against those responsible.

The final amount will be sent to Elis’s mother in Indonesia next Tuesday. If a transfer proves difficult, a member of the Mission for Migrant Workers team who is due to visit the family soon will pass on the donations in person.

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Elis’s body will be repatriated next Thursday. Elis was divorced and leaves behind two children and elderly parents, whom she was supporting in Hong Kong.

Mission for Migrant Workers & HK Helpers Campaign would like to extend a big thank you to all who kindly donated.

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A rally will be held this Sunday, March 22nd at 3pm, beginning at the Indonesian Consulate in Causeway Bay.

The dress code is all black in honour of Elis.

Download a placard:

Justice for Elis Download a placard Download PDF placards


NEWS – Domestic Workers Call For Boycott of Sunlight Employment Agency After Elis’s Death

Following the death of Elis Kurniasih, 33-year-old mother of two from Indonesia, activists called for immediate action outside of the Sunlight Employment Agency in North Point midday Tuesday.

Sunlight Employment Agency

Protesters gather outside Sunlight Employment Agency

“This is a murder,” said Eni Lestari, who heads the Asian Migrants Coordinating Body. She told the crowd that Elis had been charged two months of her salary to change employers in Hong Kong, and that her death was not a normal accident, but the result of human neglect. Elis was residing at the agency because her employer had decided not to hire her for another two months.


NEWS – Helper Crushed by Concrete Block At Agency 1

A 33-year-old Indonesian domestic worker is in a critical condition after being crushed by a falling 60kg concrete block.

Elis Kurniasih, employed by Sun Light Employment Agency, was in a boarding house provided by the agency. A concrete base of an air conditioner fell on her as she prayed at 5am in the morning. The incident resulted in massive bleeding a broken spine, according to a Mission For Migrant Workers spokesperson, who added that conditions at the boarding house were said to be “terrible”. 


NEWS – The NGO Training Hong Kong’s Helpers in Financial Literacy 2

For most people, work ends after they leave the office, cram into the MTR to head home or to meet friends or family for dinner. For Hong Kong’s domestic workers, reprieve from work happens only on Sundays, when the women have 24 hours each week to be themselves. For most women, this involves relaxing, running errands, or chatting with friends in the park. Most people would not choose to spend four hours of their sole day off in a one-room office in Sheung Wan learning how to budget and plan their finances.

Yet that is exactly what dozens of women who attend Enrich’s financial literacy programs do. This particular Sunday, the women are attending a basic financial literacy course, which promises to teach the women the necessities of saving and making smart decisions with their money.

Domestic workers meet at Enrich on Sunday

Domestic workers meet at Enrich on Sunday

Enrich offers several programs, including business development, assertive communication, and asset building – to huge success. Of their participants, 93% express greater confidence in managing debt and 100% say they are in a better financial position than before the course.

Ping Bevan, a bubbly woman from Bangkok, points the women towards dozens of cards neatly laid out on a desk that describe goals such as “I’d like to be able to support my family/parents” and “I’d like to stop worrying about money every day.”


NEWS: A Break Through? Judge in Erwiana Case Calls for Review of Live-in Rule 2

Friday morning Law Wan-tung, the 44-year-old housewife who was found guilty of abusing Erwiana Sulistyaningsih and Tutik Lestari Ningsih, was sentenced to 6 years in prison.

Speaking in the Wan Chai District Court early Friday, the Honourable Judge Amanda Woodcock made ground-breaking statements slamming the live-in rule and collection of illegal agency fees as having facilitated Erwiana’s abuse.

Judge Amanda Woodcock on the 'live in rule'

Judge Amanda Woodcock on the ‘live in rule’

“In my view, such conduct could be prevented if domestic workers were not forced to live in their employers’ homes,” Judge Woodcock said. “The choice would make all the difference.”


BLOG – HK Helpers Campaign Recommends Two Must-Read Articles

HK Helpers Campaign commends the South China Morning Post team behind the new multimedia project A maid’s tale: The story of one woman’s struggle to become a domestic helper.’

What Hong Kong’s domestic worker community go through is rarely documentary so comprehensively. This first-rate piece of journalism tells the story from start-to-finish.

Reporting
Kristine Servando

Video and reporting
Robin Fall

Editing
Alex Millson
Patrick Boehler


Hong Kong Agency that Placed Erwiana Still Allowed to Recruit Domestic Workers 1

Chan’s Asia Employment Agency, which placed Erwiana with her employer Law Wan-tung, is still recruiting Indonesian helpers to place in Hong Kong homes. Erwiana was placed with her employer after two previous domestic workers left within six weeks and six months respectively. The Hong Kong Labour Department stated that it found “insufficient evidence” that Chan’s Asia had violated regulations under the Labour Department.

Ms. Lo Fung Chi was the manager of Chan’s Asia Recruitment Agency during the time in question and was a witness for the prosecution that helped find Law Wan-tung guilty of abusing Erwiana and another domestic worker. She left Chan’s Asia shortly after police took her statement in April of last year.

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On Erwiana’s contract, Chan’s Asia Employment Agency was named as her employer. Defence lawyers for Law told the court that the agency had kept both Erwiana’s passport and HKID, though the agency denied that it kept Erwiana’s documents. During the trial, the court heard that in order to send Erwiana home to Indonesia, Law lied to the agency, telling them she was taking Erwiana on a trip to China, in order to retrieve her documents from them.

The Honourable Judge Amanda Woodcock found that the testimony of two agents was “measured and deliberate” and served to avoid implicating themselves in any criminal wrong-doing.


EDITORIAL – Erwiana is Not An Isolated Case, It’s The Tip of the Iceberg

As featured in the South China Morning Post.

The former employer of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih was convicted in the District Court on Tuesday of a multitude of violent crimes that left the Indonesian domestic helper a shell of her former self. The physical and psychological abuse she endured was horrific. She had little left in terms of her physical integrity and fought hard to hold onto her humanity.

Yet, since Erwiana’s case came to light barely a year ago, the Hong Kong government has taken little to no action to constructively address the inequities, discrimination and risks that foreign domestic helpers face.

The government continues to hold to the status quo position, arguing that the prevailing policies, legislation, administration and due diligence practices do not require any real change. Erwiana’s case exposed blatant shortcomings of the system, which regulates and supposedly protects foreign domestic helpers. And yet the government has been reluctant to take concrete steps to provide greater protection.

It is apparent that the government has treated Erwiana’s case as a one-off incident, a statistical outlier. It apparently continues to fail to recognise that Erwiana’s case is one of a multitude of cases of abuse of varying degrees suffered by foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong. Such abuses include non-payment or partial payment of wages, denial of statutory holidays, psychological abuse, intimidation, and acts of violence, including sexual violence.

An Amnesty International report published in late 2013 found that almost 60 per cent of all foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong were subjected to verbal abuse by their employers. Almost 20 per cent suffered violence at the hands of their employers and, in 2014, the Equal Opportunities Commission found that 6.5 per cent suffered sexual abuse.