Govt urged to provide shelter for domestic helpers - RTHK
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Govt urged to provide shelter for domestic helpers

2020-08-07 HKT 17:30
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  • Activists say many domestic helpers are now stuck in overcrowded and unhygienic dormitories operated by employment agencies. Photo: RTHK
    Activists say many domestic helpers are now stuck in overcrowded and unhygienic dormitories operated by employment agencies. Photo: RTHK
Priscilla Ng reports
Migrant workers’ groups have called on the government to prevent foreign domestic workers from staying in overcrowded dormitories by providing them with free accommodation and food.

With no end in sight to the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of foreign domestic workers, including those in between jobs, are stranded in the city due to the outbreak, the Mission for Migrant Workers says.

Most are now stuck in overcrowded and unhygienic dormitories operated by employment agencies, which can easily facilitate the spread of the coronavirus, the mission said.

Over the past several days, at least two maids who had stayed at boarding houses have tested positive for the virus.

The group’s Community Relations Officer, Johannie Tong, said the government must address this pressing problem.

Labour Party lawmaker Fernando Cheung said there are currently no laws or regulations governing these dormitories, adding that the administration should, in the long run, enact laws to make sure they are properly monitored.

For now, he said authorities should step up inspecting these premises, and consider relocating some of the domestic helpers to holiday camps or even motels and hotels.

Cheung said it is also concerning to see many employers bar their maids from going out on their rest days, saying that is not the right thing to do as domestic helpers also need breathing space and time out to relax.