The mysterious death of a young Filipino maid in Shenzhen is raising questions and concerns about human trafficking.
28-year-old Filipino domestic helper, Lorain Asuncion, died after falling from the seventh floor of a Shenzhen high-rise, the woman’s Hong Kong employment agency told her family late last month.
Asuncion’s family have since flown to Hong Kong looking for answers. They say that Asuncion had been brought across the border no less than four times in the last year and that she was even made to work for a family different from the one she signed a contract with, the South China Morning Post reports. Each time she went to the mainland, Asuncion expressed her fears to her family back home. While Hong Kong residents are allowed to employ foreign maids, it is illegal for such workers to be employed on the mainland.
However, in recent years, Filipino maids have become a prized commodity in China and a thriving black market has been created to help domestic helpers find their way into the mainland, typically via Hong Kong on business visas. Last year, the Philippine consulate-general in Hong Kong estimated that there were nearly 200,000 undocumented Filipinos working as maids in China. According to SCMP, local human rights groups report a rise in the number of Filipino maids under contract in Hong Kong who are being forced to work in the mainland by their employer.
Asuncion’s death is reportedly being classified as a suspected case of suicide and human-trafficking, but her family doesn’t totally buy the police’s explanation of the events. “We were told that she jumped. But we think the death of my sister is very suspicious. We want to know what happened and have justice,” Asuncion’s sister told the SCMP. The case is currently under investigation and Asuncion’s body is being held in a Shenzhen morgue. Meanwhile, her employment agency has refused to answer questions from the press.
This all follows a report last month claiming that the Chinese government was preparing to allow Filipino maids to work in five major cities in the country for a monthly salary of up to around 13,000 yuan.
[Image via HK01.com]
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