On 8 March, it was International Women's Day. Women from different socio-economic and ethnic backgrounds joined together in Hong Kong to celebrate their achievements against a backdrop of gender inequality. Among the 340,000 migrant domestic workers who currently work here, it is still not difficult to hear of cases of exploitation or abuse.
Yayuk was one Indonesian migrant worker who was exploited by her Hong Kong employer. When Yayuk first arrived in Hong Kong, she was illegally charged by her Indonesian agency for a monthly agency fee of HK$1,500 for 5 months. She was only earning HK$1,800 a month – an illegal underpayment. Two years after she began working for them, Yayuk's employers finally agreed to pay her the monthly wage stipulated in the contract, but they still held back HK$1,000 of the payable wage every month and promised only to release the money to Yayuk upon her completion of the contract. In a dispute, the employer then terminated the contract with Yayuk.
Yayuk's case was eventually referred to us by an Indonesian migrant worker. We then helped Yayuk reclaim her passport and employment contract from her former employer; file a claim in the Tribunal, and extend her visa at the Immigration Department. We also provided accommodation for Yayuk while her case was being settled.
To celebrate International Women's Day we collaborated with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to host the event at New Horizons Building. We wanted to pay tribute to the migrant domestic workers who contribute to the economy of this commercial hub. The event also aimed to help domestic workers understand their legal rights.
Highlights of the day included the "Women at Work" photography competition and the "Migrant Workers Got Talent" contest which was a fun time, allowing the participating domestic workers to showcase their creativity and talents.