Erwiana Sulistyaningsih (middle) Photo: Facebook, Keluarga Besar Buruh Migran Indonesia
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih (middle) Photo: Facebook, Keluarga Besar Buruh Migran Indonesia

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, the former Indonesian domestic worker victim of an infamous abuse case at the hands of her Hong Kong employer, has graduated from university.

Erwiana obtained a bachelor degree in economics from Sanata Dharma University Yogyakarta in Indonesia, news website reported.

She said she is very happy to graduate from the university.

A Facebook graduation message was posted on Monday. She thanked God and expressed gratitude for the support of her family and friends that helped her get through difficult times. She also said thank you to teachers and staff at the university who gave her guidance during her studies.

Erwiana was especially grateful to migrant workers’ groups for their support and encouragement during her dark days. She says she hopes she can work with them together in the future to fight for better protection for domestic workers.

Erwiana worked for her female employer Law Wan-tung in an apartment in Tsueng Kwan O, the New Territories from May 2013 to January 2014.

She suffered physical and psychological injuries caused by Law, who beat her with various household items. She was given inadequate food, had her salary withheld and was only allowed to take four hours’ sleep a day during the eight months she worked for Law.

In one incident, Erwiana said she was stripped naked, covered with water and made to stand in front of a fan in the bathroom in the middle of winter.

Erwiana said Law kept her in fear by threatening to harm her parents in Indonesia if she told anyone about what was happening to her.

The case came to light when Law left her at Hong Kong International Airport with a ticket to fly back to Indonesia. However, photos of a battered Erwiana, who was unable to walk at that time due to the abuse she had suffered, were posted online, causing widespread outrage.

Law was later arrested and jailed for six years in 2015.

After Erwiana lodged a civil suit against Law in 2014, she had to wait three years for a verdict to be handed down. The court granted her compensatory damages of HK$810,000 (US$103,522).