Seven in 10 Indonesian domestic workers and four in 10 Filipinas said they were not allowed to leave their employers’ home when they were off-duty, according to a survey by the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Hong Kong office.
The survey also revealed that of 424 domestic workers from the Philippines and Indonesia surveyed in Hong Kong, employment agents deducted money from the salaries of one-third of them, the Ming Pao Daily reported.
The IOM interviewed 267 Filipino and 157 Indonesian domestic workers between November last year and May this year, the Ming Pao Daily reported.
A total of 33% of the Indonesians and 6% of the Filipinos said when they went to an employment agency, they were asked to borrow money at a high interest rate, with the agency claiming the money was to pay administration fees. When they started working in Hong Kong, deductions were made from their their salaries for the first nine months by the agencies to pay the debts.
The Civil Society Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force said on Monday that 63 of the 1,037 cases it looked into between August last year and June this year were victims of human trafficking, the majority of them domestic helpers, Radio Television Hong Kong reported.
Last year the government identified only nine victims after screening about 4,700 people.
Lee Cheuk-yan, a former lawmaker and a member of a task force from the Confederation of Trade Unions, said the government must start counting labor exploitation.
The IMO produced a short video of three victims of human trafficking who shared their stories.
One of the cases showed a 26-year-old Indonesian, who started working in Hong Kong in 2015. She said started work 4am and finished at midnight, adding she was not allowed to leave her employer’s home.
During her first eight months of work, deductions were taken from her salary by the employment agent. She asked for assistance from a neighbor who took her to the welfare department and helped end her nine-month ordeal.