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Research & Impact

Knowledge transfer project disseminates rights awareness to foreign domestic workers

Knowledge transfer project disseminates rights awareness to foreign domestic workers

Two years ago, the images of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih's battered body received world-wide attention. While immigration and labour policies are yet to be changed, Prof James Rice from the Department of Philosophy, who is an expert in human rights law, took the initiative to educate foreign domestic workers as to their rights and duties under the law.

"This project is important because it fulfills a real need in the community, indicated by the very serious problems to which overseas domestic workers have fallen victim," said Prof Rice. His knowledge transfer project entitled "Building an Inclusive Society: Disseminating Rights Awareness to Foreign Domestic Workers in Hong Kong" is supported by a grant awarded by the University's Working Group for the KT Project Fund, and was carried out in partnership with Enrich Hong Kong and the Association of Concerned Migrant Workers. It involved a series of seven seminars and workshops which were held from September to December 2015.

The project offered foreign domestic workers pertinent information on the law, and has involved a series of seminars on topics including the hiring process, the rights and duties of migrant workers under the criminal law, health and wellness, strategies to prevent sexual harassment, and navigating labour law, as well as money management and the problem of debt traps. An app called "MyLaw411" was launched in December last year and is available for free download to provide users with legal information pertaining to a wide range of issues, all of which are highly relevant to overseas domestic workers living in Hong Kong.

"I have been very privileged to have taken part in this experience and I look forward to continuing with it during this semester and hopefully again in September," said Prof Rice.