02/27/2015, 00.00
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Hong Kong, employer who tortured Indonesia maid jailed for six years

The case of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih rocked the former British colony. The immigrant, without friends or relatives, lived as a domestic worker in the home of Law Wan-tung: the woman abused her in every possible way and then tried to smuggle her home. The judge: "A regrettable story ". The victim: "Not completely satisfied"

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - The District Court of Hong Kong has sentenced Law Wan-tung to six years in prison, for beating and torturing her Indonesian maid.  In 2013 the case first came to light highlighting  the actual situation of migrants in the Territory . The judge who sentenced her, Amanda Woodcock, explained that the woman's attitude was "regrettable" and pointed out that the Law "has not shown any compassion" for her victims. In addition, she called on the authorities of the former British colony and those of Jakarta to investigate the agencies that traffic human beings.

The story of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23 triggered a wave of global outrage and has turned the spotlight on the real situation of the approximately 300 thousand migrants from different parts of Asia, who enter the territory in search of work. These people suffer abuse while still in their country of origin, which they can only leave through "specialized agencies" and then only to end up in a nightmare of unpunished crimes and slavery.

The woman was hospitalized in January 2014 in a hospital in Central Java: her body bore the marks of cuts, burns and bruises of varying gravity that were inflicted by her former employer. Her health conditions have improved, but she was bed bound for a considerable period and then confined to a wheelchair. During the trial, the defense argued that Erwiana "is an opportunist who procured the wounds to cover her clumsiness and now wants her employers to pay".

Judge Woodcock found Erwiana was "too simple" to lie about the abuse she suffered, including the time Law twisted a metal tube from a vacuum cleaner in the maid's month, causing cuts to her lips. For this particular assault, Law was found guilty of inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent, the most serious charge of all.

Speaking outside court, Erwiana said she was not fully satisfied with the length of Law's "light" jail term but was pleased that she was going to prison. She said that the six-year sentence suggested the government tolerated slavery and maltreatment of migrant workers. "And that's not good."


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