Indonesian Erwiana Sulistyaningsih has vowed to fight for better protection for domestic workers after a Hong Kong court accepted her compensation claim against the former employer who was jailed for her abuse.
Erwiana said in an interview on local news broadcaster nowTV on Sunday that working as a domestic worker had been her best employment option, but she had not known this would change her life.
It took her three years to get a verdict after she lodged a civil lawsuit over the abuse in 2014, and to then win a compensation award.
Her then-employer, Law Wan-tung, was jailed for six years in 2015 for the abuse, and in December the Hong Kong District Court ruled that Erwiana should get compensation of HK$810,000 (US$103,522) for her physical and psychiatric injuries.
The court was told that she suffered from depression, headaches, insomnia, nightmares and post-traumatic syndrome.
“It’s (a) long time, very hard, very tired,” Erwiana said, admitting she had once thought of giving up the struggle for justice. But she convinced herself that she could do it, and now wanted to help improve the conditions faced by overseas domestic workers.
Many domestic workers showed support for her cause when Erwiana walked on the streets in Hong Kong during her court case, taking selfies with her and giving her big hugs.
Erwiana said she wanted to use these opportunities to let domestic workers know more about their rights and protections.
Now living in Indonesia, where she is pursuing a degree in economics and management, Erwiana accepts there are not many jobs available for women like her that offer as high a salary as domestic work.
Even after she has graduated and irrespective of what type of work she finds, she intends to devote her time and efforts through labour unions to seek better protection for these workers.