We have the best Agony Uncle at Sassy Mama – Andreas is the author of one of our most-recommended books: Hiring & Managing Domestic Help. It’s an absolute must-have for Hong Kong mamas and you can buy it here!
This week, one mama wants to know what she can do about a helper being mistreated….
I think a helper in my building is being mistreated – or at the very least, working an inhuman number of hours. What, if anything, can I do?
This is a tricky situation. Helper abuse is endemic in Hong Kong. Human Rights Watch estimates one in four helpers suffer verbal or physical abuse. However most abused helpers suffer in silence so as not to be terminated or further abused.
Calling the Immigration Department or even the Police is one option, but they may not be able to do much without clear evidence. Confronting the employers will, unfortunately, probably only lead to a more abused helper.
There are two things you can and should do. First of all, discreetly urge the helper to contact one of the support organizations for domestic helpers – a good one is Helpers for Domestic Helpers. You should also look around for another employer for the helper, and try to find her a nice family to work for.
For the only guide you’ll ever need on working with a helper, check out Andreas’ fab book ‘Hiring and Managing Domestic Help’ and buy it here.
Do you have a question for Andreas? Email [email protected] with the subject line “Ask Andreas” and we’ll make sure it gets answered on the site!