Indonesian maid Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, looks on from a hospital bed in Sragen district in central Java island on February 5, 2014. Sulistyaningsih, 23, who was allegedly tortured by her Hong Kong employer left hospital on February 5 after a month, tearfully expressing the hope that her case would prevent future abuse of "small people like us" - AFP PHOTO / ANWAR MUSTAFA
HONG KONG: Time magazine has named an Indonesian maid allegedly tortured by her Hong Kong employer as one of the world’s 100 most influential people, putting the spotlight on the city’s treatment of its migrant workers.
Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, 23, reportedly suffered months of abuse in a case which has renewed concerns over the treatment of domestic helpers in the southern Chinese city and sparked angry protests.
Time magazine hailed Erwiana’s bravery in speaking out against her employer and pushing for laws that better protect maids in Hong Kong.
“It is brave women like her who speak up for the voiceless who will create lasting change,” Cambodian activist Somaly Mam said of Erwiana in the list published on Thursday.
“Erwiana is advocating for better laws to protect others who may share her fate, placing a spotlight on the plight of a vulnerable and often invisible population,” Mam said.
Time’s recognition of Erwiana brings international attention to the treatment of migrant domestic workers in the city, Hong Kong-based Asian Migrants’ Coordinating Body spokesman Eman Villanueva said yesterday.
“The inclusion itself only proves that the issue of migrant domestic workers, the slavery, the exploitation and abuse is something that the international community should pay attention to,” Villanueva said.
He described the situation as “ripe for abuse” in the city, where maids are required to live with their employers.
He also said Erwiana’s actions and her inclusion on the list will help empower more victims to speak out.
Law Wan-tung, a 44-year-old Hong Kong mother-of-two has been charged with causing grievous bodily harm to Erwiana.
Prosecutors have alleged that Law turned household items such as a mop, a ruler and a clothes hanger into “weapons” against Erwiana. — AFP