Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing will visit Manila on Sunday to meet with Philippine officials and NGO leaders on how to enhance the protection of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.
Lau affirmed the contributions made by some 300,000 foreign domestic helpers in the territory, but voiced concern over their exploitation by some recruitment agencies that impose excessive charges including training fees.
She said it is a common occurrence that the first few months of wages of helpers are paid directly by their employers to recruitment agencies.
In some extreme cases, the helpers’ wages for the entire year are confiscated for payment to recruiters.
Lau hopes that her visit can facilitate the establishment of a joint task force between the Hong Kong government and the governments of the countries exporting the helpers so as to improve the current conditions.
In February, the lawmaker raised the issue of foreign domestic helpers being abused by their employers during a Legislative Council meeting.
Lau will be visiting Manila with representatives of the Domestic Worker Round Table, a group formed by the Centre for Comparative and Public Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Public Interest Law and Advocacy Society.
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