Category Archives : Blog


Documentary to Follow Domestic Workers to Clockenflap Festival 1

 

A new documentary on Hong Kong’s domestic workers has gotten off to a strong start, raising US $12,430 in the first few days of its Kickstarter campaign.

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The film’s makers hope to shed light on the “sacrifices and struggles of migrant domestic helpers working to create a better future”.

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The documentary will follow a choir of domestic workers in Hong Kong called the “Unsung Heroes” as they prepare to perform “I Wish I Could Kiss You Goodnight”, a song about leaving their children behind to provide them with a better life.


Press Conference on July 31

NEWS: Hong Kong Delegation Heads to Manila to Discuss Domestic Workers

The Domestic Workers Roundtable (DWRT), a conglomeration of domestic workers NGOs and interest groups formed in 2014 (including Hong Kong Helpers Campaign), has announced a delegation to Manila to meet with counterparts to discuss illegal agency fees, loan sharks, and access to justice for abused domestic workers in Hong Kong.

Photo: DWRT.

The delegation, led by Legislative Councilwoman Emily Lau of the Democratic Party will arrive in Manila on August 2 for four days of talks. Supporting her are Allan Bell, Chairperson of the DWRT and David Bishop, co-founder of the Fair Employment Agency, an organisation for migrant workers in Hong Kong that charges them no fees for job placement.


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.


BLOG – Hong Kong Gives Care to Caregivers

Among the professionals who went to work this Sunday were counsellors, chiropractors, Taekwondo instructors, and a dentist. But they did not go to their offices. Instead they set up shop beneath tents on Chater Road, offering their services for free to domestic workers enjoying their day off

They were there as part of “Give Care to Caregivers Day,” organised by the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) and held three to four times a year. Started in 2011, the event is designed as a way for the people of Hong Kong to show appreciation for domestic workers and the work they perform.


Hong Kong’s Filipino Community Celebrates 117 Years of Philippine Independence

Hong Kong’s Filipino community celebrated the 117th anniversary of the Philippine Independence Day on Sunday along a main stretch of Central’s Chater Road.

The all-day programme included a marching band, troupes of men and women in tribal-wear, folk dances and singing, and even a visit from Bishop John Tong of St. John’s Cathedral. The celebration came a day after the country’s officially recognised date of independence on June 12th, in order to coincide with domestic workers’ Sunday rest day.


BLOG – Canadian Tribunal Hears From Expert on Prejudice in Hong Kong

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Dr. Anna Guevarra is the Director, Asian American Studies, at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She spoke at the Human Rights Tribunal related to the abuse of a Filipino domestic worker who joined a Hong Kong family in Canada. She is an expert in immigrant labour; global carework (specifically domestic work, with a focus on Hong Kong); gender and migration; Filipino and Philippine studies; race and ethnicity. Her report was submitted as evidence and is reproduced – in full – from court records below.

[72] Dr. Guevarra’s report says that the stereotypes or prejudices that apply to Filipino domestic workers revolve around characteristics that mark them as “docile” workers. That is, Filipino domestic workers are often marketed as obedient, hardworking, Godfearing, loyal, honest, cooperative, and compliant. At the same time, she says that they are also promoted as highly educated, skilled, and exhibiting a high tolerance for stressful conditions.

[73] Dr. Guevarra says that, in general, Hong Kong employers typically stereotype foreign domestic workers, and especially Filipino women, as carrying a particular kind of “modernized” sensibility that makes them morally suspect. Hong Kong employers are said to perceive Filipino domestic workers’ sense of independence and readiness to leave 7 their families in the Philippines not as a sign of filial piety, but instead, as a sign of financial desperation that could lead to acts of transgression. She notes that these perceived transgressions are often of sexual nature, such as seducing a male member of the household or engaging in sideline sex work for the purposes of permanent residence and financial security. Thus, the Filipino workers are often seen as a threat to the female employer of the household. As a result, Filipino domestic workers’ physical appearance or attractiveness, such as their clothing, hairstyle, and physical adornments have all become routinely subject to scrutiny and discipline.


UPDATE – Thank You! Justice For Elis Campaign Raises HK$45,000

Thank you to all who donated to the JusticeForElis.com campaign. On Tuesday, Mission for Migrant Workers passed on HK$45,030 (after PayPal and bank fees) to Elis’s family.

This sum will make a huge difference to the family and give them some breathing room as they consider their legal options. HK Helpers Campaign and Mission for Migrant Workers are grateful to all of those who took the time to donate. Thank you everyone once again for your amazing generosity!

Justice for Elis


NEWS – A Thousand March Demanding Justice for Elis 2

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.