Monthly Archives: March 2014


PROTEST – Erwiana Suspect in Court as Gov’t Ignores Calls for Reform

As the employer accused of torturing Indonesian helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih appears at a Kwun Tong court facing seven charges of abuse, helpers and local people gathered at the Star Ferry last night for a candlelit vigil in her name.

Despite tireless efforts by the Justice Committee, international condemnation, multiple submissions to the government calling for reform and subsequent torture cases, the Hong Kong authorities are yet to announce any change in the rules which enabled the torture of Erwiana.


PROTEST – Employer Groups Rally Against Improved Rights for Domestic Workers 1

Around 50 protesters from the Liberal Party and domestic helper employer groups gathered at government headquarters today demanding the government allow them to sack their helpers without notice.

Last month, at a government hearing, Liberal Party member Harris Yeung warned thatthere will be more pregnancies” if helpers are given the option to live away from their employers (video). Protest leader and councillor Michael Lee stood by his party’s assertion today, adding that allowing workers to ‘live-out’ would create social issues, “…such as the housing problem, such as the traffic problem. We cannot control what they are doing at night… They will do some part-time jobs, or they may even go drinking or go partying. Then they will have no energy to work for us.”

Protest leader and Liberal Party councillor Michael Lee

Protest leader and Liberal Party councillor Michael Lee

The employers claimed their needs were being neglected, chanting “we demand the government give us automatic firing rights!” and “helpers borrow money and run off!“.


BLOG – Powerful HK Helper Poetry to Mark Int’l Women’s Day

HK Helpers Campaign presents two powerful, passionate poems written about helpers to mark International Women’s Day this weekend. The first is from Indonesian helper Arista Devi (via Stories Beyond Borders), the second is from HK-based Canadian poet Akin Jeje.

Purple Poem

how much I want you to read my stories
to understand what is really happening
to learn the truth that’s often contested
people do not care what the reality is
we were never promised justice
or victory
at least enough to understand
why purple poems come from women migrant workers like me


BLOG – Top 10 Most Outrageous Claims, Myths & Demands Heard at Last Week’s Gov’t Meeting

For decades, Joseph Law, his ‘Employer Association’ and helper agencies have been lobbying the Hong Kong government to scrap reforms for domestic workers. Their demands are often met by the government, which has caused pay and conditions to actually worsen for the local helper community. During hearings at government headquarters, these opaque and unaccountable groups offer anecdotal evidence to back up their claims in contrast to the hard statistics cited by helper NGOs and numerous international bodies.

Below are our top 10 most shocking myths, claims and demands made by these groups at last Thursday’s Manpower Panel hearing on domestic workers. You can read more about the meeting, or read the HK Helpers Campaign submission here.

1. IF WORKERS LIVE OUT, THEY MAY BECOME PREGNANT

Liberal Party youth committee member Harris Yeung (Facebook) warned that helpers may fall pregnant if allowed to live away from their employers

Accidental pregnancy is a problem not amongst domestic workers, but amongst women in general worldwide. The solution is not to require all female employees to live with their employers. The proper route to prevent unwanted pregnancy is family planning education. Many affordable government social hygiene clinics are closed on Sundays when most helpers take their day off. Children can be conceived just as easily during the day as they can be at night. Further, there is zero evidence that more domestic workers will become pregnant if they have their own home.