The news is a funny thing. The Mission for Migrant Workers has been in the media a lot this week, for two very different reasons:
First, late last week, the Mission learned about the case of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a 23-year-old Indonesian domestic helper who had endured 8 months of torture at the hands of her employer. She was beaten, starved, and had her legs badly burned with scalding water to the point she can no longer stand. Erwiana is currently back in Indonesia, but the Indonesian migrant groups and the Mission have begun a Justice for Erwiana campaign here to call for the Hong Kong government to investigate and charge her employer.
Unfortunately, Indonesian migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to these abuses. While agencies in both Indonesia and the Philippines overcharge for setting up migrant workers abroad, Indonesian law says that they MUST go through these agencies. Further, they charge almost $3000 for this placement, which means the women end up paying their entire $500 monthly salary for months before being able to even begin sending money to their families. They are afraid to leave dangerous situations because they are essentially in debt bondage, and thus these instances of abuse are further under-reported. If you're interested in learning more about the process migrant women from Indonesia must follow in order to work abroad, this photo project is excellent.
I am not directly involved in Erwiana's case, outside of supporting my coworkers who are. I can only hope that she is now safe and that she is able to find justice.
In a completely different vein, the other instance of MFMW in the media is a video that was filmed Episcopal News Service released a video this week highlighting my mission at MFMW. If you'd like to learn more about what my day-to-day life is like at the Mission, please check it out!