Erwiana’s victory calls for immediate policy reforms for FDWs in HK

Statement 10 Feb 2015

The Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) of St. John’s Cathedral, authorized representative of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih in her civil case, hails the Court’s verdict today.


The court convicts Law Wan Tung guilty of 18 charges which includes physical assault, grievous bodily harm, criminal intimidation and failure to pay wages.


With this, we are also expressing our commitment to continued assistance for Erwiana until the sentencing of Law Wan Tung on February 27 and our constant vigilance on its implementation to ensure justice is delivered.


This historic decision ushers in a pool of opportunities for the Hong Kong government to reform its policies for the protection of the rights and welfare of foreign domestic workers (FDWs).


Erwiana is the face and the voice of FDWs who, like her, are also victims of Hong Kong government’s unjust policies such as the mandatory live-in arrangement that puts migrant workers at risk of abuse.


We reiterate our call for a live-out option for FDWs in light of the slave-like conditions experienced by Erwiana and other FDWs. It’s about time that the HK government makes true its promises to sincerely address the issues exposed in the Erwiana case.


A 2013 MFMW research attests that the mandatory live-in policy increases female migrant domestic workers’ vulnerability to various types of abuse. This live-in arrangement forces FWDs to be on-call for 24 hours a day and are forced to accept any sleeping and living arrangement the employer provides. It also means that FDWs are forced to surrender their privacy, their health, their security and their safety.


This victory is a testament that FDWs can win their fight for their rights, and MFMW is encouraging other victims to come out and fight for their rights as well. The MFMW is more than ready to help and assist you in your battles.


We urge the HK government to make the live-in arrangement non-compulsory and leave the choice to the mutual agreement of the employer and the FDW as provided also by international labour standards.


Let justice prevail not just for Erwiana but all migrant domestic workers.


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