Advocates, lawmakers push for better system to handle complaints by Hong Kong's foreign domestic workers
HONG KONG -
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Advocates, lawmakers push for better system to handle complaints by Hong Kong's foreign domestic workers | SCMP
During a Legislative Council panel meeting today, various groups focusing on equality and domestic worker rights voiced their concerns on the difficulties these foreign workers face, and the lack of support provided to them if they are abused.
Leo Tang Kin-wah, organising secretary of the Hong Kong Federation of Asian Domestic Workers Union, said he received a call recently from a social worker with a government-funded organisation, asking him how to deal with a case in which a Nepalese worker was raped by her employer.
"Although the government claims that it offers various services and support to overseas domestic workers, this shows that it is not the case,” Tang said. “In order to let the government listen to views from both employers and workers, we believe the government must set up a three-party platform, including employers, workers and government representatives, to deal with all these overseas domestic worker-related policies."
Other groups also noted that many abused workers did not complain because they did not know whom they should contact, the police often brushed their cases aside as simple labour disputes due to miscommunication or they feared that they would be fired.
Workers unable to find new employers within two weeks are sent home. If they want to work in Hong Kong again after being sent home, they have to pay high fees for agencies and visas, which lead to heavy debts, the groups added.
They urged the police to set up guidelines for handling domestic worker cases with interpreters assigned to every case, to avoid miscommunications. And they called on the Immigration Department, the Social Welfare Department and the Labour Department to improve their support services so that workers who leave their abusive employers can have a shelter in the city, stay longer to look for new jobs and will not be susceptible to further exploitation by agencies.
Story Type: News