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Does the current process to address labour rights violations of Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong Provide an Effective Remedy?

Frection, Reginald (2017) Does the current process to address labour rights violations of Migrant Domestic Workers in Hong Kong Provide an Effective Remedy? PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract This thesis examines whether the process to redress complaints of labour rights violations provides an effective remedy to migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Hong Kong. The term ‘effective remedy’ is a ‘term of art’ used to identify a range of actionable human rights obligations to ensure redress measures are appropriate to the nature and gravity of the harm caused. If the necessary due diligence is exercised in fulfilling the government’s obligations, many labour rights violations should be recognised as more serious violations of human rights in the form of forced labour. However, the Hong Kong government is failing to recognise its affirmative obligations to provide a process that ensures effective remedies. A seven-month research study in 2015 of 80 MDWs in Hong Kong resulted in four significant findings; first, there is a high prevalence of forced labour which is not recognized or are miscategorised as simple labour disputes. 53 of the 80 MDWs studied were identified as being in forced labour situations. Interrelated with this finding, many of the victims did not identify themselves as such and did not seek a remedy. Only 12 MDWs made claims to the Labour Department, while 41 chose not to. In instances with no claims made, 24 MDWs returned to their employer accepting the mistreatment as part of their situation. Second, some indicators of forced labour were difficult to apply and had to be specially adapted to the nature of domestic work. Third, the research confirms the gross imbalance of power in the relationship between the MDW and the employer. Fourth, MDWs experience a variety of barriers to obtaining a remedy, which are significantly exacerbated by government policies and private actors. The study also exposed a lack of an appropriate legal and regulatory scheme to protect MDWs, further undermining any effective remedy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Law
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.745776
Depositing User: Reginald Frection
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2018 11:58
Last Modified: 24 Jul 2018 15:24
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/20670

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