Update: “Shocking” Actions by HK Authorities a “Conflict of Interests” says Lawyer.
Erwiana, the Indonesian helper who was allegedly tortured for 8-months by her Hong Kong employer, has been taken against her wishes to the Indonesian consulate after returning to the city this afternoon. Erwiana is visiting Hong Kong for a medical report related to her case. Last week, she accepted an offer of secure accommodation from the NGOs who have been assisting her. She initially resisted police efforts to take her to the consulate but was separated from her father and complied with the Hong Kong authorities after they threatened to deport her.
There were tense scenes and a heavy police presence as Justice for Erwiana Committee members gathered to greet her at the airport chanting “shame on the Indonesian authorities“. As a free, Indonesian citizen, who is not under investigation, Erwiana would normally be entitled to visit the city as a tourist for 30 days.
Activists, reporters and police gathered in Causeway Bay at the Indonesian consulate, where Erwiana arrived just before 6pm.
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.
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
at least enough to understand
why purple poems come from women migrant workers like me
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
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.