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Maids in HK live in appaling conditions

KUALA LUMPUR – Domestic workers in Hong Kong are being forced to sleep in toilets, tiny cubbyholes, and on balconies, activists found in an investigation that uncovered the “appalling” living conditions of maids in the wealthy financial hub.

In the city that employs 350,000 maids, mostly from the Philippines and Indonesia, three out of five domestic workers are made to live in unsuitable accommodation that sometimes threatens their health and safety, said rights group Mission for Migrant Wokers.

In a survey of 3,000 maids, MFMW found 43 percent of the respondents said they do not have their own room and were asked to sleep in places, including storage rooms, kitchens, toilets, basements, closets, and on balconies.

Photos collected from the domestic helpers showed shocking examples. In one case, a domestic worker was made to sleep in a cubbyhole above the refrigerator and microwave oven. Another was forced to sleep in a cubbyhole over a shower.

Another helper slept in a tiny, 1.2-meter-high room built on a balcony, next to the laundry area. (Reuters)