Monthly Archives: February 2014

ARTICLE – Yet ANOTHER Case of Torture Emerges as Gov’t Says Rules Won’t Change

Anis Andriani, a 28-year-old helper from Ponorogo, Indonesia, was hospitalised in Pokfulam this week after her employer allegedly chopped off her finger with a knife. Anis says she had previously attempted to alert neighbours to her ill-treatment. When she was unable to understand her employer, Anis says she severed the tip of her finder with a knife on a chopping board.

It is the latest in a spate of torture incidents. Yet as Anis was being treated in hospital, the government promised that the two-week rule and live-in rule – which enable such mistreatment – are here to stay.

PRESS RELEASE: LegCo Meeting on Domestic Helper Rules, Following Torture Case

LEGCO MEETING this THURS: Gov’t meeting on Domestic Workers & Agency Rules

The HK govt’s Legislative Council Panel on Manpower  will hold a committee meeting on Thursday to discuss: “Policies relating to foreign domestic helpers and regulation of employment agencies” on 27th Feb, 14:30-17:30, Conference Room 2 of LegCo complex. Agenda.

HK Helpers Campaign has made a submission. Barrister-at-law and legal advisor to the Campaign, Rob Connelly, has also made a separate submission…

Over 50 groups will attend this meeting, highlighting the importance of this issue for the people of Hong Kong. A number of these groups such as Amnesty International, Helpers for Domestic Helpers (HDH), the Civic Party and others are supportive of an improvement in rules for domestic workers, while others are not, such as the Liberal Party and the Hong Kong Employment Agencies Association Ltd.

ARTICLES – SCMP Op-ed on the “Job Hopping” Myth from Our Legal Advisor

Our legal advisor, Rob Connelly has an Op-ed in the South China Morning Post today on the myth of ‘job-hopping’. His unedited commentary is below…

What would you think of a law which penalised you for changing your employer? What if you had paid the majority of the costs of your recruitment to an employment agency and were now being told that to resign would be unfair to your employer? Why do we countenance such discriminatory administrative policies towards migrant domestic workers, or Foreign Domestic Helpers, as they are known to the Hong Kong Government?

In response to SCMP, 21.2.14

Once again, the job-hopping myth has been trotted out to justify the discriminatory and punitive immigration policies towards migrant domestic workers (“Job-hopping’ helpers exploit rules for cash” – 20 February 2014). It’s time to look at the facts.

Contrary to the statement of the Security Bureau in the article, workers who terminate their employment contracts prematurely are not entitled to severance pay under the Employment Ordinance. They will only receive any outstanding salary for the period worked and return passage to their home country, as a ticket or cash in lieu, at the discretion of the employer. A worker who does not have grounds to terminate the contract summarily has to give one month’s notice or pay one month’s wages in lieu of notice to the employer.

After terminating her contract, the worker has 14 days to find a new employer, at the end of which she has to leave Hong Kong, whether or not a new employer has been found. She will suffer loss of income for four to six weeks while waiting for the new visa, or even longer if she did not find an employer and has to register again with an agency in her home country.

BLOG – Today’s New Burmese Helpers Vulnerable to Abuse as Campaign Activist Meets Newcomers at Airport

In the early hours of this morning, 19 new Burmese domestic helpers were greeted by Golden Mind Employment Agency at Hong Kong’s International Airport – the first wave of workers from Myanmar.

A representative from HK Helpers Campaign went to meet the newcomers to distribute a concise list of helplines, support networks, advice and rights information in their language. The campaign is not aware of any government agency or other NGO informing new helpers from Myanmar of their rights.

6mppor3.jpg (600×338)

People from Myanmar are arguably the most vulnerable people in Southeast Asia. The rules have not changed in Hong Kong and so they are at great risk of abuse. 58% of helpers in the city have been abused physically, verbally or sexually, according to a 2012 survey by Mission for Migrant Workers.

Burmese helpers have limited Cantonese and English skills and are not internet-savvy due to years-long restrictions in their country. Additionally, there are no other Burmese helpers in Hong Kong for them to turn to for help.

PROTEST – Hundreds Flash Mob in Victoria Park & Erwiana is Released

Hundreds of helpers gathered in Victoria Park on Sunday for the ‘One Billion Rising‘ flashmob, which called for improved rights for domestic helpers and justice for torture victim, Erwiana

Over 500 people braved the drizzle, filling Victoria park and demanding an abolition of discriminatory policies against helpers.

cZkDAhFl.jpg (640×481)

via Jennifer Ngo on Twitter