MFMW Helps Domestic Workers Recover $2.5M in Illegal Fees

By Cheryl M. Arcibal

A non-government organization said it helps distressed domestic workers in Hong Kong recover an average of $2.5 million in illegal fees every year.

The Mission for Migrant Workers (MFMW) said this was one of the findings of the first ever impact evaluation of its operations to various stakeholders in the territory.

The MFMW launched its “Summary of Impact Evaluation Report 2004-2014” on December 4, 2015 at the St. John’s Cathedral.

Guests during the launching included Philippine Consul-General Bernardita Catalla, Vice Consul Fatima Guzman Quintin, an official from the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), and members of the community serving the migrant domestic workers and the ethnic minorities in the city.

During her welcome remarks, Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, MFMW Limited general manager, said this is the first time that they undertook an impact evaluation.

Their previous evaluation reports focused on their programs, but Abdon-Tellez said they believe that it was time to measure the impact of their operations and services to their stakeholders.

“The evaluation exercise that we did was a humbling experience,” she said.

According to the report, under MFMW’s Labour and Employment Assistance Program (LEAP), the organization’s clients who were able to claim benefits and recover illegally-collected or overcharged agency fees, amounting to an average of $2.5 million a year.

Besides monetary claims, MFMW also helped in cases resulting in waiving of fraudulent loans; closure of some erring recruitment agencies; imposition of administrative sanctions to  misbehaving government officials and; waiver of fees in hospitals for residents of temporary shelters.

Meanwhile, clients that sought the assistance of MFMW through LEAP rose from 1,000 to an average of 4,400 in 2013 and 2014.

“The number of MDWs (migrant domestic workers) served by the LEAP steadily increased throughout the years with the influx of Indonesian migrant workers seeking assistance after the  Mission opened its doors fully to non-Filipino migrants, as well as expanding to Macau,” the report said.

On the other hand, the Mission’s Bethune House sheltered an average of 600 in 2013 and 2014, higher than the previous average of 420 shelters.

Among the report’s recommendations are addressing the problem of personnel and space for counseling and shelter and ramping up outreach.



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