In HK, migrant rights advocates hold service fair for domestic workers

Photo by Trina Federis / Bulatlat

The long-time migrant rights leader also said that instead of getting help from their respective sending governments, migrant workers are usually neglected and abandoned.


HONG KONG – Filipino migrant rights advocates in Hong Kong kicked off their commemoration of women’s month with free services fair for migrant domestic workers here.

The Give Care to Our Caregivers (GCC) is the biggest annual free services fair for migrant workers in Hongkong prior to the pandemic. With mobility restrictions beginning to ease in Hongkong, the Mission of Migrant Workers is planning to hold two more GCC fairs this year.

“We would hold at least one GCC every year in Chater Road, where Filipino migrant domestic workers are concentrated pre-pandemic. Of course, one of these GCCs was also held in Victoria Park, where Indonesian migrant domestic workers congregate. The last one is traditionally done in St. John’s Cathedral in December, as a Christmas gift to migrant domestic workers (MDWs). We usually make the last one for the year extra special by having a Christmas tree, where workers can hang their Christmas wishes,” Mission For Migrant Workers general manager Cynthia Abdon Tellez said.

This year’s first GCC was held last Sunday, March 5 along Chater Road.

Among the services they provided included medical needs (blood pressure taking, blood glucose checking, dental, massage, acupuncture, chiropractor), personal development (nail care, eyebrow grooming), employment (case guidance, conducting one’s self in interviews, resume-making, financial literacy, home safety), and lifestyle (henna tattoo, martial arts, fruit carving, print-making, art therapy, karaoke)

Before Sunday, the MFMW held smaller versions of the GCC as they continued to provide services amid the strict pandemic restrictions there.

Of the 283 migrant care centers here, it provided services to at least 20,000 migrant workers in 2021 alone, according to its service report.

This is despite their own volunteers being hit by the COVID-19 virus themselves.

“We maximized our hotlines and online counseling. We also couldn’t have done it without the local volunteers and migrant partners who helped deliver the care packs and provided resources such as goods, contacts, transportation, etc. As a result, we were able to deliver 5,245 care packs,” Tellez said.

Care packs contain medicine, food, and water good for three days. This helped affected migrant workers, who were in isolation due to being down with COVID-19.

Edwina Antonio of Mission For Migrant Workers said, “can we give care back to them even for just a day?”

Enduring abusive employers

Tellez, for her part, highlighted the need to provide services to domestic workers here as their jobs are not secure.

“Although the contract allows for either party to terminate the contract, the domestic worker is usually left at a disadvantage, as once the contract is terminated, they only have two weeks to look for an employer. If they fail to do so, they need to go home. And that means at least a few months of unemployment while waiting for the new employer. With this situation, with no decent-paying jobs available to domestic workers back home, so many suffer through abusive employers,” she said.

The long-time migrant rights leader also said that instead of getting help from their respective sending governments, migrant workers are usually neglected and abandoned.

She said, “These service fairs that provide free services to migrant workers, are necessary only because there is a dearth of services available to them. Their own Consulates are quick to collect fees, but slow to provide services.”

The next GCC will be held in July and December. (JJE) (

Share This Post