Monthly Archives: July 2015


Is “Domestic Helper” a Loaded Term? 1

The term “domestic helper” has achieved near-universality in Hong Kong, but not all “helpers” are happy with its connotations of subservience.

In a recent survey conducted by HK Helpers Campaign in Central and Victoria Park, 72 per cent (60 out of 83) foreign domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia said they preferred to be called “domestic worker” instead of “domestic helper.” Those preferences are at odds with the terminology used by the government and major newspapers like the South China Morning Post, which exclusively use “helper.”

Activists and NGOs say “helper” suggests a lower and unequal role for workers, even while advocacy groups like the Campaign continue to feature it in their titles because it is more recognizable.

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FEATURE – New Recruiting Model Gives Power Back to Workers

EhDeuIN.png (444×413)Domestic worker agencies in Hong Kong have a long history of charging exorbitant or illegal fees to recruit domestic workers from overseas. However, a handful of ethical agencies have emerged in recent years to set a bold new precedent: no fees to workers, only employers. Most visibly, there was the Fair Employment Agency (FEA), founded by HKU professor David Bishop and Scott Stiles. While other agencies drive domestic workers into debt bondage in practically open defiance of the law, FEA, a nonprofit, has set out to restore ethics to a business model that forsook them long ago.


No one should work this way: FCC Photo Exhibition 9

The International Labour Organization is hosting a photo exhibition entitled “No one should work this way”, to highlight the plight of domestic workers who have been abused during their time working in Hong Kong and beyond. The exhibition runs until July 31, 2015 at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club in Central.

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‘Beth’, now 20, from rural Philippines, abused in Manila.

“My employer would bang my head on the wall and she would throw hot water on me. She would burn my skin with cigarettes. She said this was the punishment for my sins.”