Suffering from abuse for more than a year, the body of a Filipina domestic worker in Hong Kong is now full of scratches and bruises.
According to the Filipina, her employer who works as a teacher in HK usually kicks, slaps, and scratches her until her successful escape on May 13.
“She slapped my face about 15 times. She took the… and hit my thighs daily and about five times. I fell to the floor, she kicked my legs and threatened to kill me. This scared me a lot,” says Eden.
Eden tried to beg her employer to stop the physical beatings but to no avail. Instead, her employer took Eden’s mobile phone to keep her from reporting to anyone else.
Eden was also overworked. She started her day at 5:30 a.m. and ends her shift by midnight, with no weekly breaks, an incentive that every domestic worker in HK ought to have.
There was also a time when Eden was forced by her employer to consume congee that contained dishwashing soap because the child of her employer failed to finish it.
The rise of abuse among Filipino domestic helpers in HK drastically rose ever since the start of the pandemic.
The United Filipinos in Hong Kong said that many Filipinos were not even granted one day off by their employers because of the pandemic.
“Sasabihin ng employer, mag-stay ka sa bahay kasi baka makakuha ka ng COVID sa labas. Kung Sunday ‘yan, sasabihin ‘wag ka lumabas,” says Dolores Balladares Pelaez from the United Filipinos in HK.
But during those days when you have to go to the market to buy something to cook, their employer would let these Filipino workers go out, something that Dolores finds to be unfair. Worst, the maltreatment of employers is mostly tolerated by OFWs fearing that their employment visas will be canceled and they will not be able to find a job again.
“Hindi maka reklamo ‘yung mga domestic worker kasi inaakusahan ng job hopping yung mga worker so kung mag reklamo ka, maghahanap ka ng bagong employer, ang sasabihin ng immigration, kwe-kwestyunin ka,” Dolores added.
Meanwhile, the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration received some reports of abuse and they are monitoring these reports diligently.