Nine out of ten domestic helpers complaining to cathedral mission forced to work long hours

Credit:  Helpers campaign

Statistics on abuse of domestic helpers have been released to SAI KUNG BUZZ by the Mission for Migrant Workers. The St John’s Cathedral-based charity analysed complaints received in 2016, the latest available.
Here’s a brief summary. The full report can be seen at MFMW 2016 Service Report.
— Nine out of 10 women (they are almost all female) complained of long working hours. 62 per cent of those had to work 11 to 16 hours daily. 38 per cent were made to work over 16 hours.
— Two out of five did not have a private room and their sleeping arrangements affected rest periods.
— One in two said they had been victims of illegal charges by recruitment agencies, including debt bondage in some cases. 45 per cent had been required to pay $5000 to 10,000 in illegal agency fees. 17 percent paid $10,000 to 15,000. Only 4 per cent paid the legal fee (10 per cent of the first month’s salary).
— One in four women complained of insufficient food.
— 12 per cent said they suffered ill-treatment with six per cent saying they were physically abused.
—  8 per cent said their documents were confiscated by their employer, 7 per cent by an agency.
— 0.5 per cent alleged rape or sexual harassment.
— 0.2 per cent became pregnant.
— 0.3 per cent died, some as suicides.
The Mission operates a shelter called Bethune House where helpers in difficulty are housed temporarily. During the year it looked after 304 Filipinos, 291 Indonesians and six other nationalities. The Mission said malpractices by agencies were prevalent: Illegal collection of fees, over-charging and fraudulent loans. There was a 17 per cent rise in police cases because of these agency practices.
This is a second recent report by SAI KUNG BUZZ on the work of the Mission for Migrant Workers. The earlier one can be seen here.
Donations to support the Mission’s work can be made through

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