June 18, 2022


I come from the Phillippines. Through a local recruitment agency, I applied to work in Hong Kong as a migrant domestic worker and arrived the city in late 2017. I was immediately taken to a boarding house by the agency and told to stay there. I finally left on the fifth day, and I thought I could finally start working and earn money. Who knew I would be brought to the airport and boarded a flight to Taiwan instead?

I sensed that something wasn’t right and became anxious. To console me, my employer said that the ticket I was given is for a round trip, and promised that I would return to Hong Kong in ten days. In reality, I was sent to Taiwan to work for my employer’s sister, an arrangement I had no prior knowledge about, lest to say consented to.

In Taiwan, I was ordered to work from 6am to 12am every day with no breaks between, and was forbidden to leave the house at all times, unless it was for taking out the trash. I wasn’t allowed to contact anyone using my phone, and was made to place it in a prominent position in the living room. My new employer also frequently insulted me, and always smacked me in the head.

Was I able to return to Hong Kong ten days later, you ask? That did not happen. I stayed and worked in Taiwan for three months, against my will. I didn’t know what to do, but after much contemplation, and recognizing that my experience was human trafficking, I contacted an NGO for help while my employer was away. Later, when she discovered that I had sought help from others, she immediately purchased a flight ticket to the Philippines, and sent me home.

*All names & identifying information have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor. The photo is not of the actual victim.

Indicators of trafficking for labour exploitation:

  • Deceptive recruitment – employer varied working location and people served unreasonably
  • Exploitation – excessive working hours around 18 hours; no respect of contract signed and laws i.e. Zoe was sent to Taiwan while she held FDW visa for working in HK
  • Coercion at destination– verbally and physically abused by legal employer’s sister
  • Abuse of vulnerability – dependency on exploiters due to lack of knowledge of Taiwan and Hong Kong, economic reasons


Is human trafficking happening in your community? Recognizing potential red flags and knowing the indicators of human trafficking is a key step in identifying more victims and helping them find the assistance they need.

To reach out or report suspected cases of human trafficking in Hong Kong, please visit our get help page