More can be done to prevent maid abuse

A domestic helper pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair in Toa Payoh on 9 July 2019.
A domestic helper pushing an elderly woman in a wheelchair in Toa Payoh on 9 July 2019.ST PHOTO: KUA CHEE SIONG

The Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) is deeply concerned about the recent cases of employers convicted for abusing their domestic workers.

More can be done to prevent such abuse.

Preventive measures need to be implemented throughout the employment cycle of foreign domestic workers (FDWs), and there must be accessible channels for them to readily seek help without fear of repercussions.

Since its inception in 2016, the CDE has established touchpoints for FDWs to understand their rights, and to encourage them seek assistance if they need to.

For a start, we have worked with overseas employment agencies to show a CDE-produced pre-departure video to FDWs who intend to work in Singapore.

Broadcast in 10 languages, the video depicts life in Singapore and the different types of employment and welfare-related matters that the CDE can assist FDWs with.

Once the FDWs are in Singapore, the CDE educates them on the channels by which they can seek help.

We have also built a robust grassroots network of over 650 volunteers and ambassadors across the island who are trained to identify infringements and to render assistance to FDWs in need.

Currently, the CDE conducts the FDW interview on behalf of the Ministry of Manpower to understand the employment situations and challenges faced by randomly-selected FDWs.

We hope the Government will make this interview mandatory for all new FDWs.

Every abuse case is one case too many. We urge the public to report any suspected cases of FDW abuse.

Please alert the authorities or call our 24-hour helpline on 1800-2255-233.

Shamsul Kamar

Executive Director

Centre for Domestic Employees