Date
19 September 2017
Thousands of domestic helpers have experienced sexual abuse from their employers, according to a government survey. Photo: HKEJ
Thousands of domestic helpers have experienced sexual abuse from their employers, according to a government survey. Photo: HKEJ

Govt urged to allow helper live-out amid sex abuse claims

Hong Kong is being urged to allow domestic helpers to stay overnight outside their workplace on their day off to help prevent sexual abuse, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reported Friday.

The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) proposed the change after it found that thousands of domestic helpers have been sexually abused in their employers’ homes.

Nearly two in 10 respondents in an EOC survey said they had employers who openly watched pornography in the living room.

The Sex Discrimination Ordinance prohibits contactless assaults.  

The survey polled 981 foreign domestic helpers during March and April this year.

Nearly half said they received offensive text messages and been subjected to suggestive verbal abuse while almost two in 10 said they experienced non-verbal sexual harassment.

Four cases involved attempted rape.

Teresa Liu, managing director of placement agency Technic Employment Service Centre Ltd., said the proposal could pose problems over insurance and living allowance, among others.

Joseph Law, chairman of the Hong Kong Employers of Overseas Domestic Helpers Association, said it cannot solve the issue because offenders can commit sexual abuse when the helpers return home.

Live-out arrangements would exacerbate Hong Kong’s housing problem, he said.

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VW/JP/RA

Freelance journalist

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