2 June, 2015 AsiaNews.it Twitter AsiaNews.it Facebook            

Help AsiaNews | About us | P.I.M.E. | | RssNewsletter | Mobile






mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
e-mail this to a friend printable version


» 01/15/2014
HONG KONG
New case of "torture" against migrant worker in Hong Kong
From Indonesia, Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, was ill-treated during her nine months of employment with a Hong Kong family. After going home, she was hospitalised in Central Java. Hong Kong activists and pro-democracy politicians slam existing laws and the climate of insecurity that permeates the lives of foreign workers.

Hong Kong (AsiaNews) - Hong Kong police launched an investigation into the alleged torture of an Indonesian domestic helper during her nine months of employment with a family in the former British crown colony.

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23 (pictured before and after the violence), is currently in a hospital in Central Java. Her body is covered in cuts, burns and bruises, which she claims were caused by her former employer. She is said to be improving but is still confined to bed.

She returned to Indonesia on 10 January, according to the Association of Indonesian Migrant Workers, after her employer gave her HK$ 100 (US$ 12) and a t-shirt and asked her not to speak with anyone before boarding the plane.

A police spokeswoman said the case was not turned over to an investigation officer right away because "The helper's employment agency made a report to police on January 12 but [. . .] did not provide evidence to confirm where her injuries came from. We can just hope to get more details."

The police statement angered human rights activists and pro-democracy politicians. "If a person is killed and no one reports the murder, I wouldn't think police would want to wait for someone to turn up to provide evidence before starting an investigation," said Fernando Cheung Chiu-hung, of the Labour Party.

Still, this case has put the plight of foreign workers in Hong Kong back in the spotlight. Most of them come from the Philippines and Indonesia to work mostly as domestic helpers or janitors, their life burdened by low wages, housing difficulties, inability to obtain citizenship and veiled racism.

Despite having  laws and regulations, Hong Kong authorities often appear to ignore deliberately the terrible situation.

In Sulistyaningsih's case, the physical violence was compounded by other elements of discrimination, such as the alleged HK$ 18,000 fees (US$ 2.300) she was required to pay to her employment agency even though Hong Kong law stipulates that they can charge helpers no more than HK$ 401.

Such a situation is not unusual. In some cases, agencies charge as much as HK$ 21,000, said Robert Godden, Asia-Pacific Campaign Coordinator at Amnesty International.

Some go so far as to withhold helpers' passports, employment contracts and bank cards until their debt is paid back.

For Leo Tang Kin-wa, organising secretary at the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions, Sulistyaningsih was probably scared to file a report with police because of Hong Kong's mandatory "live-in" policy for domestic helpers.

"Why did this case just come to public attention after the helper returned to Indonesia? It is because Hong Kong has failed to provide a safe environment for workers," he said.

The Indonesian woman "was forced to live with her employers, and there were no public-funded crisis shelters for helpers that she could have escaped to. It is very hard for helpers in Hong Kong to seek help."


e-mail this to a friend printable version

See also
02/10/2015 HONG KONG - INDONESIA
Hong Kong: Indonesian maid tortured, employer sentenced
11/22/2012 CINA
Chinese migrant workers, mutilated in the name of economic growth
11/22/2012 SAUDI ARABIA
Riyadh, controls on women: husbands receive sms if their wife leaves the country
09/30/2011 HONG KONG
Hong Kong High Court grants permanent residency to the Filipina maid
10/30/2007 HONG KONG – CHINA
Anson Chan presents her electoral campaign

Editor's choices
ASIA
Vigil for persecuted Christians, our teachers in the mission in the West
by Bernardo CervelleraThe "wall of indifference and cynicism" and the silence and apathy so often denounced by Pope Francis have become almost a fortress. Such persecution reflects confessional manipulation, which slams Islam as such, and ideological manipulation, which forgets what is happening in North Korea or China. An increasingly post-Christian Europe seems disinterested in Christians.
RUSSIA – CHINA
Moscow Patriarchate: China authorises the ordination of Chinese Orthodox priests on its territory
by Marta AllevatoMetropolitan Hilarion, the Moscow Patriarchate’s ‘foreign minister’, made the announcement after a visit to China where he met the leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs. The first priest should serve in Harbin. Two more ordinations are expected. With a new Cold War as the background, the Moscow-Beijing strategic alliance also has a Church connection with the People's Republic recognising the latter’s 'political' role in Russia.
VATICAN
Pope: We and the four new saints, witnesses of the Resurrection "where forgetfulness of God and human disorientation are most evident "Francis proclaims four religious sisters saints: one French, one Italian, two Palestinians: Maria Alfonsina Danil Ghattas, the foundress of the Sisters of the Rosary, and the Carmelite Maria of Crucified Jesus (nee Maria Bawardy). Mahmoud Abbas, President of the Palestinian Authority present. "Abiding in Christ" and cultivating “unity among us" are essential signs of witness. Maria Bawardy, "instrument of encounter and communion with the Muslim world".

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
Copyright © 2003 AsiaNews C.F. 00889190153 All rights reserved. Content on this site is made available for personal, non-commercial use only. You may not reproduce, republish, sell or otherwise distribute the content or any modified or altered versions of it without the express written permission of the editor. Photos on AsiaNews.it are largely taken from the internet and thus considered to be in the public domain. Anyone contrary to their publication need only contact the editorial office which will immediately proceed to remove the photos.