ABOUT THE DOMESTIC WORKERS ROUNDTABLE
Did you know that Hong Kong relies heavily on over 350,000 Foreign Domestic Workers – comprising 10% of the 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 this essential workforce. Employers also experience a wide range of problems that are not adequately addressed by the current system.
The Roundtable is comprised of more than 20 stakeholders working to support the rights of Domestic Workers in Hong Kong. Members include commercial lawyers, legal academics, NGOs, unions, representatives of the private sector 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 has included a consultative forum in April 2015 attended by over 100 participants including representatives of 6 sending states, and resulting in the definition of 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 officials to discuss policy issues. In the more than 40 year history of Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong, the DWRT represents the first time stakeholders with widely disparate interests have come together to engage the government on policy issues, and held directed policy dialogues focused on defined outcomes.