Hong Kong domestic helpers protest over tortured maid: Domestic workers in Hong Kong took to the streets to demand justice for an Indonesian maid who was allegedly tortured by her employers and better protection for the hundreds of thousands of foreign maids in the city.
The protests follow a series of similar abuse cases and criticism by rights groups.
The alleged victim, 22-year-old Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, was reportedly unable to walk after eight months of abuse and after returning home to Indonesia was admitted to a hospital in critical condition.
After migrant workers expressed anger over reports that the Hong Kong police were not pursuing the case, the authorities on Tuesday said they had launched a criminal investigation into the case. On Thursday a police spokesman said the investigation was ongoing and no one had been arrested, according to a Channel News Asia report.
Dozens of protesters which included maids, rights activists and migrant group members rallied outside the office of the maid’s employment agency on Thursday, and then marched on the Indonesian consulate.
As they marched they chanted slogans such as “We are workers. We are not slaves. Justice for Erwiana”.
A second maid has come forward alleging abuse by the same employers four years ago over a 10 month period.
“I was beaten many times. I worked 20 hours a day,” the 28-year-old woman said, who refused to reveal her true identity.
“It’s my first time [job] in Hong Kong. I didn’t know anything. I was scared. My boss also told me not to speak out”.
Sring Atin, vice chairperson of Indonesian Migrant Workers Union, told reporters, “We are very angry. So many cases have happened to Indonesian migrant workers in Hong Kong,”
Hong Kong has nearly 300,000 maids from mainly Southeast Asian countries, mostly Indonesia and the Philippines, and rights groups have increasingly criticized their treatment.
Amnesty International last November condemned the “slavery-like” conditions of thousands of Indonesian women who work in the city as domestic staff and accused authorities of “inexcusable” inaction.