ABOUT THE DOMESTIC WORKERS ROUNDTABLE
Did you know that Hong Kong relies heavily on over 379,000 Foreign Domestic Workers – comprising 10% of the Hong Kong workforce. Yet there are serious problems with existing conflict resolution mechanisms as well as the regulation and supervision of employment agencies, leading to the abuse and exploitation of these workers. Employers also experience a wide range of problems that are not adequately addressed by the current system.
Led by the Centre for Pro Bono Service, the Domestic Workers Roundtable (DWRT) is comprised of a wide range of stakeholders working to support the rights of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong. Members include private practice and in-house lawyers, NGOs, unions and worker’s representatives, academics, representatives of the private sector bodies and politicians. The Roundtable takes a collaborative approach to complex issues and believes the way forward is through dialogue between all stakeholders, including government and non-government actors. Participation of the Governments of Domestic Worker Sending Sates continues to be critical to the process, as is the co-operation of international bodies, including the International Organization for Migration.
The process was founded on a consultative forum held in April 2015 at the Hong Kong University and attended by over 100 participants including representatives of 6 sending states, and resulting in agreement on a mandate for future action. DWRT follow-on initiatives have included high-level missions to Indonesia and the Philippines, implementation of a successful media strategy, and ground breaking meetings with senior HKSAR Government officials to work though specific cases and highlight policy issues. In the more than 40 year history of Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong, the DWRT represents the first time a diverse range of stakeholders from all sectors have come together to engage the government on policy issues, and held directed policy dialogues focused on defined outcomes.
If you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Allan Bell (via our contact form).