About Us

What we are doing...

  • We are an independent Hong Kong campaign formed by a group of local activists to promote the rights of local Foreign Domestic Workers.
  • Our objective is to amplify the voices of helpers by linking them, and relevant NGOs, with those in the media, law, politics and academia.
  • The ultimate aim is to apply pressure to successfully achieve our three basic campaign points. To (1) scrap the ‘two-week’ law, (2) to enforce maximum working hours and (3) to end illegal agency fees. The live-in law and two-week rule discourage helpers from escaping abusive situations, whilst illegal agency fees can leave newly arrived maids indebted for months on end.
  • We will achieve our objectives via a public multimedia advocacy campaign and by lobbying key-players one-on-one. We also intend to pursue our campaign points through the courts with the support of our legal advisor, Robert Tibbo. Mr Tibbo is a top human rights lawyer in Hong Kong who advises Vision First. He also advised Edward Snowden.

What we are not doing...

  • We are not offering direct support to helpers nor are we founding a new NGO. Instead of ‘repeating roles’, we aim to strengthen existing voices in Hong Kong and abroad.

Why now?

  • HK Helpers CampaignHelpers are arguably the backbone of Hong Kong’s middle class and the engine of its economy. They leave their own loved ones to care for our children, the elderly and run our homes – allowing Hong Kong families to earn double incomes.
  • The plight of some marginalised groups within the Hong Kong community (such as refugees and ‘cage’ people), are finally gaining some spotlight and momentum – but there has been little progress for domestic helpers. We will use our skills to change this.
  • More than half of Hong Kong’s 300,000+ helpers are abused verbally, physically or sexually. They are the only workers who, by law, must live with their employer. They can never gain permanent residency, are not allowed to drive and many are trafficked from their home countries into debt bondage. Many are ‘on-call‘ 24/7, some are not given a rest day and they are exempt from the Hong Kong minimum wage. Helpers earn just HK$4,100 (US$528) per month – a salary that has barely changed in a decade. These issues rarely elicit public sympathy and are often reported on poorly by the media, who often reinforce stereotypes.
  • We are a small, diverse group of volunteer campaigners working closely with helpers and local NGOs. We are committed for the long-term and intend to pursue these issues in the public sphere and through the Hong Kong courts.

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  • HK Helpers Campaign core team consists of: Silvia Bonvini, Tom GrundyMeredith McBride, Sana Saleem, Venus Tjang. Web design & permanent content:Tom Grundy. Blog content: Core team members. Infrastructure support: Mart van de Ven of Open Data Hong Kong. Bitcoin support: Tony Wong. Legal advisors: Robert Tibbo and Robert Connolly.