Indonesian worker’s life at risk from temporary shelter provided by agency

Statement 12 Mar 2015

The Mission For Migrant Workers (MFMW) is currently assisting the case of Elis Kurniasih BT Ahi Komarudi, an Indonesian domestic worker who is currently fighting for her life after the concrete base of an air conditioning unit fell on her back. Elis was staying at the boarding house provided by the Sun Light Employment Agency.

In more than 90% of our cases, migrant domestic workers are cheated a day or two or more in the payment of wages since the date of employment which should be upon her arrival when it comes to wages starts only on the day employer takes her in.

The Sun Light Employment Agency is accountable for what happened to Elis during the “in-between” period when she arrived in Hong Kong and the actual start of work at the employer`s house.

Allegedly, the condition on the said boarding house is also terrible with the wellbeing and safety of those staying there at risk. Indonesian domestic workers there are said to sleep on the floor with mats and no proper bed. Cooking is done at the rooftop of the said old building. Although there is a lift, they are allegedly made to take the stairs since only tenants and staff are allowed to use the lift.

According to initial information, Elis arrived in Hong Kong on 5 March 2015 when her new working visa was approved. However, her female employer who is seven months pregnant told Elis to wait for another two months and wait for the baby to be born before formally starting employment. Allegedly, the employer told her to stay in the agency`s boarding house for the meantime.

The incident occurred on 11 March 2015 at 5 o`clock in the morning when Elis was allegedly preparing for her Muslim prayers. The strong impact of the falling concrete base caused massive bleeding and broken backbone.

The Mission for Migrant Workers is consulting lawyers for possible legal actions and just compensation for the victim and her family. Additionally, we are now assisting the family to send a representative here for Elis` personal assistance.

There should be accountability and responsibility for what happened to Elis. How such a tragic accident could happen should be thoroughly looked into.

Moreover, the MFMW believes that what happened to Elis just shows the dire condition of FDWs in Hong Kong. Their marginalisation and the insufficient protection given to them put their wellbeing and personal safety in serious jeopardy.

Elis, like Erwiana and others before her, show that there is a lot of improvements that should be made on the living and working condition of FDWs in Hong Kong.#

MFMW Ltd. (Mission For Migrant Workers)
St. John’s Cathedral, 4-8 Garden Road, Central, Hong Kong

phone: 2522-8264, fax: 2526-2894

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