“There was no month that I was not being beaten by my employer.” Abused Pinay domestic worker in Hong Kong seeks justice

After the case of Indonesian domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih who was tortured by her employer in Hong Kong, another female domestic worker, a Filipina, is seeking justice against abuse, maltreatment and modern-day slavery by her employer.

Rowena Uychiat, a native of Cadiz, Negros Occidental, has sought the assistance of the Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW), an organization committed to service for migrant workers in Hong Kong and an affiliate of Migrante International.

Uychiat is a widow and mother of two. She arrived in Hong Kong last July 22, 2013 to work as a domestic worker for Yui Anna Hoi Yin, a Hong Kong national who resides in Kowloon.

In her sworn statement and report to the Hong Kong police, Uychiat attested that she was regularly beaten by her employer, deprived of her days off, was made to sleep in the kitchen, and was made to work from 6:00am to 4:00am everyday for nine months. She also said that she was prohibited to leave the house without being accompanied by her employer, and that her passport was confiscated from her by her agency. Her employer also repeatedly refused to hand her her Hong Kong identity card.

Last April 25, while her employers were on vacation, Uychiat filed a police case against them at the Sham Shui Po Police Station for “common assault”.  Attached herewith are Uychiat’s complaint-submission to the Hong Kong Labor Department and photos of her bruises.

As of this posting, the Hong Kong police is still investigating the case and her employer has not yet been charged. She is currently being sheltered by the MFMW, while Migrante International is presently contacting her children.

“We call on the Hong Kong Labor Department to immediately address our kababayan’s case. We also call on the Philippine government to do everything to ensure that Uychiat gets the justice she deserves. Her employer and her agency, Gracious Employment Agency Limited, have committed clear violations of the Migrant Workers’ Act of 1995, the ILO Convention on Domestic Work and the Hong Kong rules and regulations on Household Workers,” said Connie Bragas-Regalado, Migrante Sectoral Partylist chairperson.

Bragas-Regalado also called on all Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong and elsewhere in the world, together with their families, to rally behind Uychiat in her bid for justice. “Her plight and her bravery should serve as an inspiration for Filipino migrant workers to always assert their rights and stand against any and all forms of injustice and modern-day slavery,” Bragas-Regalado said.

Bragas-Regalado said that they are preparing to bring up Uychiat’s case before the House of Representatives for a congressional inquiry. She also called on the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) to provide necessary assistance to Uychiat’s children in the Philippines. ###