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By Sohoon Lee And Nicola Piper

Domestic workers' rights begin at home

Published on Jun 20, 2014 1:25 PM
Ms Erwiana Sulistyaningsih (centre) being escorted out of the airport in Hong Kong in April, on her return to the city for a medical examination as part of the investigation into her case. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

Stories of domestic worker Erwiana Sulistyaningsih made headlines when she spoke out against her employer's alleged abuse while working in Hong Kong. Gruesome cuts and burns on her body reportedly left her unable to walk when she returned to Jakarta.

Details of her case reveal more than the beating and physical abuse she allegedly suffered in the eight months she was in Hong Kong. She was not able to sleep or eat adequately, had to work as long as 20 hours a day and was not allowed any days off.

However, the Indonesian public, who were indignant at the sight of Ms Erwiana, could be ignoring an even more marginalised group of domestic workers - those within their own borders. Domestic workers in Indonesia face the same level of contempt and abuse as that experienced by their counterparts who go overseas, if not worse.

A month after Ms Erwiana's return to Indonesia, Ms Yuliana Leiwer fled the home of her employer Mutiara Situmorang in Bogor, West Java.

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