Abuse and Violence Against Foreign Domestic Workers. A Case from Hong Kong

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Abstract

This paper explores various abuses Foreign Domestic Helpers (FDHs) or migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Hong Kong suffer and the strategies they take up to cope with this abuse. Data were collected from 215 domestic helpers (135 from the Philippines, 30 from Thailand, 41 from Indonesia, and 9 from Sri Lanka) all of whom had been in residence for at least six months. Selected by snow-balling technique, respondents were interviewed with structured and non-structured questionnaires. Research shows that sexual abuse is the most common form of abuse against MDWs followed by psychological and physical abuses. Female employers are the main perpetuators of psychological abuse while the male employers are culpable for sexual abuses. Coping strategies varied widely among the MDWs. Many of them endure the violence to keep the job; some quit the job and others struggle with the decision to stay or quit.

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