Erwiana Sulistyaningsih is an Indonesian domestic worker who was allegedly tortured by her Hong Kong employer. She says her passport was illegally retained by Chan Recruitment Agency during her 8 month ordeal. (Images of Erwiana here).
- Daily abuse: Erwiana says she was beaten daily, burned and allowed only 2 meals of plain bread and rice per day. She was allowed to sleep only between 1pm-5pm but not at night. An allergy on her hands and legs was exacerbated by the employer, who covered the wound with clothing when the smell was unbearable. She tried to complain to Chan Recruitment Agency a month into her ordeal – they said she must pay off her debt before they would listen. Another helper who previously worked with the same employer claims she had to beg for her life and was also severely abused.
- Inaction from authorities: It took a week for the police to travel to Java and take a statement from Erwiana – the media arrived in 24-hrs. The police cited a ‘lack of evidence’ to detain the employer. The agency are still operating while the Welfare Department declined a request by HK Helpers Campaign to check upon the employer’s children and ensure their safety.
- Escape: On January 10th, 2014, Erwiana fled home to Java – she was barely able to walk and her body was ‘covered in cuts and burns‘ She returned home with under HK$70 (US$9) and remains in hospital.
- How was this allowed to happen? Amongst many other factors, the abuse of domestic helpers is enabled by the 2-week rule and live-in rule. Read the HK Helpers Campaign comment in the SCMP.
- Arrest: An arrest was finally made on January 20th – the case is ongoing.
- Media coverage: South China Morning Post, Wall Street Journal, TIME, AFP, New York Times, CNN.
- TIME Magazine honour: In April 2014, Erwiana was named as one of TIME Magazine’s Top 100 Most Influential People in the World.
Justice for Erwiana & all Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong 還Erwiana公義、還在港外籍家務工公義！
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- You can write to the Indonesian and Hong Kong authorities about this case via the Asian Human Rights Commission.
The Justice for Erwiana and All Migrant Domestic Workers Committee was formed by the Network of Indonesian Migrant Workers in Hong Kong (JBMI), the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body (AMCB) and the International Migrants Alliance (IMA) – Hong Kong & Macau Chapter.