Indonesian maid alleges Singapore employer starved her, locked her in house

Indonesian maid Castina was purportedly interviewed by a neighbor about her Singaporean employer. Image: Chun Ming/Facebook
Indonesian maid Castina was purportedly interviewed by a neighbor about her Singaporean employer. Image: Chun Ming/Facebook

Labor officials are investigating an Indonesian maid’s accusations, circulating in a viral video, that she’s been the victim of systematic abuse by her employer, who only let her eat one meal a day.

Castina, of Indramayu in West Java, says in the two-minute clip that her employer locks her inside the house on Sundays to keep her from running away and cuts her salary whenever a member of the household falls sick as they blame her for bringing in bacteria.

I don’t get enough sleep, and I need to wake up at 5am,” she says in the clip, reportedly filmed by a neighbor. “If not … I would be drenched in water.”

“If someone falls ill, my pay will be cut … they say I carry bacteria,” she added.

She’s since been removed from the employer’s home and is staying at the Indonesian Embassy for the time being, according to a Sunday statement from the Manpower Ministry, which said it is investigating the case. It was not disclosed how long Castina had been working in Singapore.

“Employers are reminded that they are responsible for providing their foreign domestic workers (FDWs) with three meals a day,” the ministry said.

It encouraged any workers being mistreated to contact its helpline in Singapore at 1-800-339-5505.

The original video, including a photo of Castina outside what was said to be her employer’s home, was posted online by user Chun Ming on Friday. It showed the maid speaking to the camera from the lift landing of the Housing and Development Board apartment block. 

The video, which has garnered more than 200,000 views and the post 4,600 shares, shows Castina crying as she speaks about her employer in Bahasa Indonesia. Castina also complained about having a lack of sleep and not being allowed to call home and speak to her family. 

When asked if she would like help escaping her situation, she nods.

“I’m not strong anymore,” she says.

Singapore has had several cases of maid abuse, including one in which a maid suffered violent physical abuse — including being hit on her back and mouth with a hammer — for about half a year in 2012.

In August that employer was sentenced to 11 years in jail for abusing her maid, a woman also from Indramayu named Khanifah, The Straits Times reported. 

Singaporean employers are required to provide their maids with three meals a day, as well as a decent place to sleep, insurance and rest days, the ministry said on its website. It even included an example of a day’s food intake as a guide for employers, ranging from a buttered bread breakfast to a bowl of rice and veggies with a “palm-sized amount of meat” for lunch and dinner.

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Related story:

Singaporean couple who abused Indonesian maid convicted again for abusing Myanmar helper

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