January 28, 2024

SCMP: Jan 2024

‘No one to help’: Sri Lankan migrant workers in Hong Kong lack support, face exploitation and abuse, NGOs say

  • Sri Lankan women make up less than 1 per cent of foreign domestic workers and don’t have strong networks, in contrast with some other groups of helpers
  • In a small community without full consular representation, Sri Lankans ‘don’t know where to get help’, NGOs say

Branches of Hope’s STOP team is thrilled to have collaborated with SCMP journalists in highlighting Gita’s story and the growing challenges faced by the Sri Lankan community of migrant domestic workers in Hong Kong. 

In our experience, economic hardships and limited job opportunities back home often leave Sri Lankan workers vulnerable to exploitation. They are frequently deceived or coerced into illegal employment arrangements, unpaid labor, and debt bondage. Fear of deportation, language & information barriers, combined with the absence of consular presence, further hinder their access to support.

While Gita’s case may not have resulted in the justice she deserved, it has only fueled her determination to speak up for her community, to warn others about the unscrupulous practices of unethical brokers, and to encourage those trapped in difficult employment situations to seek assistance. We are immensely proud and inspired by Gita’s strength and compassion.

Alongside Gita and all those who have experienced exploitation, Branches of Hope will continue our efforts to bring about positive change and strive for a future where all workers are treated with dignity and fairness.