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Working conditions remain poor for foreign domestic workers

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Migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong continue to face the same problems.

According to its 2015 Case Work Report, The Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) reveals that working hours, accommodation and rest days are the most common labor issues affecting foreign domestic workers.

In a press statement on March 31, the organisation discloses that long working hours, the lack of a private room and denial of a 24-hour day off has remained the top concerns for three consecutive years, in a study which analyses the cases the organisation receives and highlights the problems that FDWs face in Hong Kong.

The latest findings reveal that 3 out of 5 FDWs work between 11 to 16 hours daily, two-thirds of which worked for more than 16 hours. 48% of FDWs are not provided with private accommodation, and 38% are made to work before taking the day off.

Unpaid wages and benefits, as well as employment agency malpractice, remain prevalent.

The high case count of the MFMW, often of the same nature echoing cases since 2013, show no improvement in the plight of FDWs; however, there has been no reported incidence of extreme abuse, as with the case of Indonesian FDW Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, in the past year. MFMW believes that the same problems will continue to occur while no reforms are made to policies that expose FDWs to questionable treatment, such as the Two-Week Rule and the mandatory live-in employment arrangement.

The Mission for Migrant Workers Ltd. of the St. John’s Cathedral is a leading and trusted service provider and partner of Asian migrants and is an active link between them and HK society. MFMW provides crisis assistance services to FDWs in distress, empowers their communities, promotes harmony in households and works for a more multicultural and inclusive Hong Kong.

On March 15, non-profit human rights organisation Justice Centre Hong Kong released Coming Clean, a study which revelaed that 94.6% of all migrant domestic workers in the city experience some form of exploitation, while 17% are outright victims of forced labour.

Photo by By Mk2010 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

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