And like nearly all helpers in Hong Kong, she was legally required to live in her employer's home.
What she said followed were six months of physical and emotional abuse so excruciating that she broke her contract and fled. "All my body died for him," says Marta, now 37, who requested a pseudonym to protect her identity. "He is the dark in my life."
The mistreatment Marta describes is not uncommon in Hong Kong, home to more than 390,000 helpers who largely come from the Philippines and Indonesia. Making up nearly 10% of the city's labor force, these women -- only about 1% of helpers are men -- are integral to Hong Kong's economy and daily life. Yet they are also one of the city's most vulnerable communities.