Chiayi County Service Center and Specialized Operation Brigade, Taiwan National Immigration Agency. Photo: Google Maps

An Indonesian woman who has been arrested in Taiwan for breaching her conditions of stay has claimed she was forced to work illegally after fleeing her abusive legal employers.

She was one of two Indonesian women arrested by immigration officers in southwestern Taiwan on Thursday for alleged breaches. The officers also arrested a local resident for allegedly employing illegal workers.

Acting on citizens’ reports, officers from the Chiayi County Specialized Operation Brigade of the Immigration Department made the arrests, Taiwan Times reported.

One of the Indonesian women told the authorities that she had initially been legally hired as a nursing worker in a Taiwan home in 2015. However, she said she had suffered a lot of abuse, which prompted her to flee.

The couple who had employed her required her to take care of their elderly mother but also to conduct all the duties of a domestic helper. The woman said she worked as a maid for at least 16 hours a day, from 6am until 10pm, and was not allowed to have breakfast. She only took 30 minutes of rest at noon before another round of domestic chores.

The couple often beat and scolded her for no reason, and took away her passport, work visa, bank passbook and personal seal to prevent her from fleeing, she said.

She said she worked for three months with no days off and received a total of NT$1,900 (US$62) as salary.

The woman once begged to be allowed to return to her home country and sought assistance from her employment agency, which provided little help. As a result, she said, she left the employers’ home and made ends meet as an illegal worker.

The news report did not say if the authorities would take any action against the maid’s former employer or her employment agency.

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