In the early hours of this morning, 19 new Burmese domestic helpers were greeted by Golden Mind Employment Agency at Hong Kong’s International Airport – the first wave of workers from Myanmar.
A representative from HK Helpers Campaign went to meet the newcomers to distribute a concise list of helplines, support networks, advice and rights information in their language. The campaign is not aware of any government agency or other NGO informing new helpers from Myanmar of their rights.
People from Myanmar are arguably the most vulnerable people in Southeast Asia. The rules have not changed in Hong Kong and so they are at great risk of abuse. 58% of helpers in the city have been abused physically, verbally or sexually, according to a 2012 survey by Mission for Migrant Workers.
Burmese helpers have limited Cantonese and English skills and are not internet-savvy due to years-long restrictions in their country. Additionally, there are no other Burmese helpers in Hong Kong for them to turn to for help.