mandag 13. juli 2020

Imagine being forced to live with your boss. That's the case for nearly 400,000 women in Hong Kong

When Marta came to Hong Kong in 2011, she was a 29-year-old single mother, looking for a job that could support her young daughter and sick father back in the Philippines.  Foreign domestic workers, she knew, often earn much higher salaries than she could find at home. Before she arrived, a recruitment agency found her a job as a helper -- a job that entails being a housekeeper, personal chef, nanny and caretaker.

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.