Media Centre for journalists, writers and creatives…
Thank you for your interest in covering the plight of domestic workers in Hong Kong. We hope to help raise awareness of the challenges workers face as well as shining a more positive light on the local helper community. Read more about our campaign objectives here.
- Momentum: As well as furthering a worthy cause, any coverage of domestic worker issues in the city would be very timely. In 2013 alone, a legal challenge, a case of torture and an Amnesty International report received wide, global coverage. Between 2014 and 2015, an abuse case involving an Indonesian domestic worker captured world headlines. There is hope that real change could come soon if momentum is maintained.
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Below are some story ideas and suggestions on topics our campaign feels are under-reported. Please email us if you would like our assistance in researching a story.
- Our three campaign points – Each of our three campaign points represent an injustice – we want to maintain awareness and keep these issues in the news. We are calling for (1) an end to the ‘2-week’ rule, (2) for helpers to be included in maximum working hours legislation and (3) for HK to enforce the law on illegal agency over-charging. We are happy to provide spokespeople if you wish to publish a story about our objectives.
- ‘Freakonomics’ – A quantitative investigation into how much domestic helpers contribute to the Hong Kong economy. Our campaign believes that helpers are the ‘engine’ of HK’s middle class, enabling double-income households and a mobilised female workforce. We invite data journalists to explore, quantify and visualise the contribution helpers make to our city and what our society would look like if they were not here. We made some rough calculations for Quartz, but need an economist to check our working!
- Live-in conditions – A fresh examination of the state of living conditions for many domestic helpers (i.e. some sleeping in bathrooms, cupboards etc…). Our campaign hopes to challenge how ‘normalised’ this situation has become – the wording in helper contracts regarding the provision of accommodation remains vague and open to abuse. We call on investigative reporters to link this issue with the ‘live in‘ rule and expose how some helpers are living day-to-day.
- Positive human interest stories – For example, in Victoria Park each Sunday there are many activities such as photo shoots, music, dancing, small businesses, mini-libraries – a vibrant, weekly community get-together.
- Online discrimination and bullying – In some ’employer group’ social networking pages and internet forums, discriminatory language aimed at the helper community can be common. There are also sometimes instances of cyber-bullying and racism. There are many excellent employers who treat their helpers well also making enquires, though there are invasions of privacy when a ‘blacklisted’ helper’s photo or contact details are published. If you wish to report on this issue, you can find some starting points (in English and Chinese): here, here, here, here, here and here.
- Minimum wage injustice – The minimum wage (HK$4,010) has barely risen in a decade – our campaign would like to help data journalists track exactly how out-of-line with racing inflation the current wage level has become over the years.
- Domestic helper subcultures – A positive examination of the diverse groups within the helper community (e.g. goth sub-culture, LGBT, music, religious groups etc…). These can be easily researched on Sundays in Victoria Park or around Central.
- Helper profiles – Stories which ‘humanise’, perhaps revealing the sacrifices made by helpers for their own families and children back in their own countries.
- Abuse epidemic – Local NGOs, such as Bethune House and Christian Action, run refuge centres for abused helpers – some may be willing to discuss their cases with the press. Our campaign believes that exposing such situations, such as the recent Kartika or Erwiana cases, engages readers and motivates them to act, therefore effecting change. Statistics show that the abuse cases that have emerged are the ‘tip of the iceberg’, but investigative reporters are needed to carefully uncover these stories.
- Photojournalism or video project – Images of HK’s helper community almost always revolve around ‘Sunday picnics’. Our campaign hopes to challenge stereotypical representations and are already commissioning photographers to alter how helpers are portrayed. We would welcome more photographers and videographers to help highlight our campaign points and the contributions domestic workers make to HK society.
If you wish to do some pro-bono investigative work with us, we would welcome freelancers to get in touch.
- Partnerships – We would be happy to partner with you if you wish to provide coverage of domestic helper issues under our banner. Please contact us if you would like to present a news piece, package or project ‘in conjunction with’ our campaign and download a zip-file (1.7mb) of high resolution logos. We would welcome the linkbacks, credit and publicity and aim to drive the public to visit our Action Centre.
- Free content – Most of our blog content is freely available for re-syndication. We will respond quickly if you contact us for permission to reuse our photographs, videos, interviews and events coverage.
- HK Helpers Campaign is happy to speak to journalists on background and can provide quotes, responses and general information about the plight of domestic workers in Hong Kong.
- We do not assist domestic workers directly so are unable to put reporters in touch with helpers. However, we can recommend some fellow NGOs who may be able to help!
- Research: Download a zip file (35mb) of academic papers, reports, studies, statistics and legal summaries. A more up-to-date selection of papers are available individually on our public resources page.
- Free content re-syndication: Most of the content, photos and videos on the HK Helpers Campaign blog is available freely for re-syndication – please contact us for permission. You can also do a Creative Commons search for images available online.
Please click here to download our launch press release…