A domestic worker in Hong Kong was routinely assaulted with a frying pan, kicked and denied rest days at the hands of her employer before fleeing and reporting the abuse to police, a migrant workers’ rights group said Friday.
Her employer was arrested on May 31 for assault occasioning actual bodily harm a day after she filed the report at Sha Tin police station, according to a police statement. She was released on bail following questioning.
In an online press conference, spokesperson for the Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body, Dolores Balladares-Pelaez, showed pictures of injuries on Eden, who had been working for her employer at her Tsuen Wan home for 14 months.
“Her whole body bore signs of prolonged abuse,” Balladares-Pelaez said as she flashed pictures of deep bruises and cuts on Eden’s legs, abdomen and back.
Originally from the Philippines, Eden came to work as a domestic worker in Hong Kong for the first time over a year ago. Her employer, who is a secondary school teacher, struck Eden when her child would not stop crying or did not finish his food. She also slapped her, Balladares-Pelaez added.
Citing COVID-19, her employer banned Eden from leaving the house on her off days, giving her just two hours of break time during which she was allowed to rest.
Eden is currently staying in a shelter provided by the Filipino consulate.
Eden’s abuse brings echoes of the horrifying 2014 case involving Indonesian helper Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, who was starved and beaten unconscious by her sadistic employer. Her plight sparked outrage and prompted a movement demanding an improvement of working conditions for the city’s vulnerable domestic helpers.
In the press conference, Balladares-Pelaez called on the Hong Kong government to support an impartial investigation and trial of the case, and for Eden’s visa to be renewed so she can stay in the city until she locates new employment.
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