當香港政府宣佈第三波冠狀病毒2019大傳播危機的同時，數十萬的移民家務工(移工)＊已被淹沒於一浪接一浪的，歧視、排斥、忽視和成為代罪羔羊。七個月以來，香港政府就冠狀病毒2019爆發，及其對人民的生命和生活的影響，已𣎴斷對公眾進行提醒。然而，香港政府為數十萬移工提供的服務及協助，則仍如空中樓閣。On 5th August the public was bombarded with news about an Indonesian domestic worker who was COVID19-positive, who stayed in a rented place in Wan Chai with 28 other migrant domestic workers. It has created an unreasonable paranoia that MDWs are the virus spreaders when no statistical data has proven that any specific ethnic community has actually been so and when by far, local transmission has not revealed specific classes of people as sources. Instead of curbing the exaggeration, the authorities seem to ride on to it and have initiated policies that unfairly singles out MDWs.
在8月5日，公眾備受一宗新聞轟炸。當中，政府公佈了，一位印尼移工被確診冠狀病毒2019、她曾住宿於灣仔一出租住所、及當時須與另外28位移工共用該住所。這製造了描述移工為病毒傳播者的不合理恐慌。現時並沒有統計數據可證明任何特定種族社群為病毒源頭。至現時，本地傳染個案亦未顯示任何特定階層為源頭。政府不但沒去壓止這些誇張失實之詞，更乘勢推出不公平地針對移工的措施。In fact. the said news unbox the utter neglect of both Hong Kong and sending governments in providing the needed shelter and assistance for MDWs who are in between work contracts and those who have lost their jobs.
Both Hong Kong and sending governments (e.g. Indonesia and the Philippines) are equally guilty of passing the responsibility of providing the needed accommodation at the hands of recruitment agencies who are more concerned with profits than service.
The Hong Kong government should realize that during the early outbreak of COVID19 pandemic, thousands of MDWs were already demanding for quarantine facilities and assistance that can protect us and the households that we serve. But the Department of Labour instead encouraged our employers not to allow us to take our day-offs while we continue to go out during weekdays to go to the market, accompany our elderly to hospitals and other public places and do chores that put us at risk from possible local transmission. With the third wave and this exaggerated news, surely those who are denied days-off – around 40% of MDWs in March – would now have increased significantly.
Moreover, the Hong Kong government should further realize that there are number of cases of MDWs who got infected by the virus while working with their employers. Worse, based on the survey that we conducted in March this year, there are 4 out 10 MDWs who are provided with only one face mask per day. We can estimate with these findings that another 206,000 MDWs are at risk because of less protection given them.
While the Hong Kong government is providing economic relief and assistance to locals, permanent and non-permanent residents, it has provided nothing to us. True, there is a welcome announcement of free mass testing for MDWs staying at dormitories run by employment agencies as well as provision of masks and other essentials to them.
在香港政府為本地永久性及非永久性居民提供經濟紓緩及協助的時候，它並沒有為我們提供任何協助。當然，政府剛宣佈的新措施，將會為住宿在僱傭中介公司宿舍的移工，提供免費檢測和口罩，是值得歡迎的。但如果政府可以提供同樣的措施，給所有人（不論是移民或本地人）的所有人，就更好了。也可以說，若這個措施能成為一套更全面的策略的一部份，會更好。更全面的意思，是指更全面地回應冠狀病毒，更認真地考慮移工面對的處境(無論是在職、新來港、轉換合約中、終止合約的移工)，而非現時這種頭痛醫頭，及隨意把移工描繪為傳播者的故事。Without strict regulation of worker’s dormitories run recruitment agencies which are usually crowded, unsafe and unhygienic, the risk of local transmission will remain and no amount of mass testing can reduce. Also, how about provision of free and safe accommodation for workers whose contracts were terminated or who are in between jobs? How can they pay for accommodation if they are not allowed to work while waiting for their visa? How can they pay for visa extensions even with current “flexible policies” of HK Immigration? How about those stranded in HK and couldn’t leave? Where will they stay? Who will take care of them?
由於缺乏嚴格規管，僱傭中介公司所提供的移工宿舍大多都非常擠迫、不安全及不衛生。這種情況下，無論有多少數量的檢測，本地感染的危機依然繼續存在。為何不為在僱傭合約被中止或在轉換合約中的移工提供免費和安全的住宿？她們在等候簽證期間，依法不可工作的情況下，她們怎能支付住宿費用呢？她們又怎能支付現時香港入境處的「寬鬆措施」下延續簽證的費用呢？那些未能離開而暫困在港的人又如何呢？有誰會照顧她們？The vulnerabilities of the MDWs bred by unfair, unequal and discriminatory policies in HK have existed pre- COVID19 pandemic. The pandemic has only unboxed it, exposed it and worsened it. Before HK society rides the tide of paranoia and blame towards MDWs, it could take the opportunity to reflect on the systemic and policy-level issues that is the context of the crises that MDWs face in the time of COVID19.
No one knows when this pandemic will end. While the Hong Kong society is gearing towards a better post-pandemic situation, the Hong Kong government should adopt a policy and comprehensive plan devoid of discrimination and exclusion of migrant domestic workers—a plan that treats us humanely and justly. ###
*it has been the practice of hong kong people to call the migrant domestic workers of various ethnicities (migrant workers or mdw) as foreign servants, while the hong kong government would use foreign domestic helpers (fdh), however we see that, quite a few of them had been toiling in their services for hong kong for many years, and had contributed to the development of the society and economy, their works should not be go unnoticed, and they are an essential part of the population. these namings carried with them unnecessary segregation of who’s in and who’s out and exclusion, therefore we have chosen to call them as migrant domestic workers of various ethnicities (migrant workers or mdw), to state our willed vision to walk and work with the labouring workers. and let it be noted.