Date
19 October 2017
Lawmaker Emily Lau went to Manila this week fighting for better rights for maids. She also paid a visit to New Bilibid Prison (inset), and promised to provide further assistance to Tang Lung-wai where necessary. Photos: DBC, Ming Pao
Lawmaker Emily Lau went to Manila this week fighting for better rights for maids. She also paid a visit to New Bilibid Prison (inset), and promised to provide further assistance to Tang Lung-wai where necessary. Photos: DBC, Ming Pao

Emily Lau to visit Jakarta to fight for better rights for maids

Democratic Party chairwoman Emily Lau Wai-hing will follow her visit to Manila to discuss the plight of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong with a visit to Jakarta on the same mission.

Lau spoke in a radio show Friday morning about her talks with Philippine officials from Sunday to Wednesday this week.

The legislator and representatives of the Domestic Worker Round Table (DWRT) met officials from the Department of Labor and Employment and the Philippine Overseas Employment Administration, Ming Pao Daily reported.

Although charging fees for placements is prohibited in the Philippines, it is still commonplace for domestic helpers to be forced to pay high fees, Lau said.

In extreme cases, Lau said, she has heard about six months of wages or as much as HK$100,000 (US$12,900) being confiscated by employment agencies.

Lau called for closer cooperation between Hong Kong and the Philippine government to enforce the country’s policy on Filipino domestic helpers, of whom there are more than 300,000 in the city.

There is also plenty room for improvement in Hong Kong’s system as well, Lau said.

She said it would become a win-win situation for Hong Kong employers and foreign domestic helpers when the system is better enforced.

The lawmaker and DWRT representatives will meet Indonesian officials in Jakarta from Monday to Thursday next week.

During the Manila trip, Lau also paid a visit to New Bilibid Prison, where Hongkonger Tang Lung-wai is serving a 40-year jail term for drug possession.

Lau said she will give further assistance to Tang where necessary.

The two trips will cost Lau, who is paying for them herself, a total of about HK$100,000. 

Emily Lau to visit Manila to discuss foreign maids’ plight (Jul 31, 2015)

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