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在香港遭虐待的印尼外佣

Hong Kong’s Indentured Servants
在香港遭虐待的印尼外佣

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, a 23-year-old Indonesian maid, returned to her home province of Java from Hong Kong last month hardly able to walk. Cuts and burns covered most of her body. Her employer in Hong Kong allegedly beat her and locked her up for weeks.

今年23岁的印度尼西亚女佣艾维亚纳·苏里斯特亚宁斯(Erwiana Sulistyaningsih)上个月从香港回到她的故乡印尼爪哇省时,几乎无法行走。她身上满是划伤和烧伤的痕迹,据称她在香港的雇主曾殴打她,还曾囚禁她数周。

Each year hundreds of thousands of young Indonesian women like Ms. Erwiana fan out across Asia and the Middle East to live in the homes of local people and serve as their domestic helpers — cooking, cleaning and caring for children and the elderly. Most send a portion of their salary home to their families every month, fueling an Indonesian economy that relies on remittances. More than 320,000 foreign domestic helpers live in Hong Kong, a city of seven million people, and close to half of them come from Indonesia.

每年都会有数十万名像艾维亚纳这样的印尼年轻女性离开家,前往亚洲和中东各地,居住在当地人家中做佣人——做饭、清扫、看管小孩和老人。多数人每月都会把一部分薪水寄回家中,为依赖外劳汇款的印尼经济提供助推。在拥有700万人口的香港,居住着超过32万名外来家佣,其中将近一半来自印度尼西亚。

Although Hong Kong has better legal protections for foreign domestic helpers than other Asian countries like Singapore and Malaysia, the laws that govern their living and working conditions are discriminatory and foster an environment that can lead to abuse. Ms. Erwiana was by no means the first victim in Hong Kong of a horrible beating, and unless changes are made to the law, she won’t be the last.

尽管香港对外佣的法律保护比新加坡、马来西亚等其他亚洲国家要好,但管辖其生活和工作的条款却存在歧视性,并催生了一种可能导致虐待的环境。艾维亚纳肯定不会是第一个在香港遭受毒打的外佣,而且除非法律做出修改,她也不会是最后一个。

The most restrictive requirement on foreign maids in Hong Kong is the so-called live-in law, which requires that the guest workers reside with their employers. Many employers give maids small windowless closets for bedrooms, and sometimes worse. The live-in rule means that maids are often on call 24 hours a day. And maids with abusive employers have few places to go or people they can turn to for help.

香港法律对外佣最苛刻的一项约束是要求外佣与雇主同住。许多雇主只肯给外佣没有窗户的窄仄橱柜做卧室,有时甚至还会更糟。同住的规定意味着佣人必须一天24小时待命,而且如果遭遇有虐待倾向的雇主,这些外佣几乎走投无路,求助无门。

The minimum wage for foreign maids in Hong Kong — a flat rate of $517 per month — works out to be significantly lower than it is for locals, which is about $3.85 per hour. By paying foreign maids much less for longer working hours, Hong Kong has, in effect, created an underclass of foreign female laborers. The women who take care of Hong Kong’s children and elderly are on the lowest rung of the socioeconomic ladder.

香港对外佣的最低工资标准是均一的,每月517美元(4010港元,约合3130元人民币),算下来明显低于本地人每小时3.85美元(30港元)的最低工资。由于向工作时间更长的外佣支付了明显更少的薪水,香港实际上制造了一个由外来女性佣工组成的底层阶级。这些为香港照料儿童和老人的女性,实际上处在社会经济层级的最底端。

And while the legal code is flawed, it is also often flouted. Many employers and placement agents hold maids’ travel documents to prevent them from leaving the territory without permission. They are often paid less than the minimum wage and forced to work seven days a week.

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法律条文存在缺陷,而且还经常被人公然违背。许多雇主和求职中介会收走外佣的旅行证件,以防她们不经许可就离开香港。她们的薪酬时常低于最低工资标准,也常常被迫每周工作七天。

Thousands of maids each year file complaints with the Hong Kong Labor Department over contract disputes. A survey by the Mission for Migrant Workers, a nongovernmental organization, reported in 2013 that some 18 percent of maids said they were physically abused by their employers.

每年都会有数千名外佣因为合约纠纷向香港劳工处投诉。非政府组织移民工牧民中心(Mission for Migrant Workers)在2013年公布的一项调查显示,约有18%的外佣表示曾受到雇主肢体侵犯。

Yet thousands of women still migrate to Hong Kong, appreciative of the opportunity to earn money that wouldn’t be available to them at home. This workforce of women contributes significantly to their home-country economies: All foreign workers from the Philippines, the other main source of maids in Hong Kong, sent $24 billion home in 2012, while Indonesians sent home an estimated $7.1 billion.

然而每年仍然有数千名女性来到香港,因为这里有机会赚到在本国赚不到的钱。这批女性为其母国的经济作出了巨大的贡献。所有来自菲律宾的外劳,2012年向本国汇回了240亿美元,菲律宾是香港外佣的另一个主要来源国,而印尼外佣向国内汇回了71亿美元。

My work as a photojournalist took me to Indonesia and Hong Kong between November 2012 and February 2013 to investigate the recruitment of Indonesian domestic helpers and the conditions in which they live in Hong Kong. I spoke with many domestic workers and while some seemed content, a shocking number told of misery and abuse.

摄影记者的工作让我在2012年11月到2013年2月之间,来到了印度尼西亚和香港,调查印尼佣人的招聘过程和她们在香港的生活条件。我采访了许多佣人,尽管一些人表示满意,但也有相当一部分佣人讲述了悲惨、虐待的故事,数量之多令人惊讶。

Lista, 26, was excited to start her new job in Hong Kong when I spoke with her there in November 2012. But after talking about how much she was looking forward to the money, she said, almost jokingly, that living conditions in Hong Kong are not always good. Her sister had to resign as a maid in order to leave the tiny nook in which she was sleeping: a windowless pantry. She also talked, not without horror, about her friend who was forced to sleep on her employer’s dining room table once they had all gone to bed.

2012年11月我在香港和26岁的丽思塔(Lista)交谈时,她对在香港的这份新工作十分兴奋。但在谈到她对薪水的期待后,她几乎是以开玩笑的口气说,香港的生活条件并非总是那么好。她的姐姐要辞去女佣的工作,才得以脱离她睡的那个狭窄角落:一个没有窗户的储物间。她还不无惊恐地谈到,她的朋友被迫在雇主一家都睡觉后,睡在雇主家餐厅的桌子上。

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While the Hong Kong legal system and abusive employers are to blame for many of the hardships maids face in the Chinese territory, the situation is more complex. Indonesia’s government and private business people actively support this flawed system.

尽管外佣在这块中国的领土上承受的许多困苦,要归咎于香港的法律体系和粗暴的雇主,但实际的情况却更加复杂。印尼政府和私营企业的商人积极地支持着这个存在缺陷的体系。

In Indramayu, a town in West Java, Indonesia, I met Bunda Pitrin and her husband Milyanto, who were brokers for domestic-helper recruitment agencies. They sell the dream of a better life abroad to young female villagers and their families.

在印尼西爪哇省的南安由,我遇到了本达·皮特林(Bunda Pitrin)和她的丈夫米连托(Milyanto),她们是招聘佣人的中介公司经纪人。他们向年轻的女村民和她们的家人兜售在国外过上更好生活的梦想。

Each maid they send to a recruitment center in Jakarta brings them around $685. They promise 30 percent to the woman’s family, to encourage them to let her leave home.

每向雅加达的一家招聘中心送去一名佣人,他们就能得到685美元酬劳,他们承诺会向女子的家人返还30%,以此鼓励家人让她离家。

Yayu Rolya Subandiyah, 26, arrived in Hong Kong in August 2012. Before moving, she had spent six months in a training center in Java, a requirement of the Indonesian government, where she was taught the basics of cooking, cleaning and some English and Cantonese.

今年26岁的雅玉·罗莉亚·苏班迪亚(Yayu Rolya Subandiyah)于2012年8月来到香港。前往香港前,按照印尼政府的规定,她在爪哇的一家培训中心待了六个月,在那里她学到了烹饪、清洁的基础知识,以及一些英语和广东话。

Like all of her compatriots, she had to pay back the fees for the training classes. When maids arrive in Hong Kong, most women are forced to relinquish a large part of their salary each month to repay the cost of the training back home. This ties them to their new jobs in Hong Kong, and makes it more difficult for them to leave when the situation is bad.

像所有同胞一样,她也必须偿还培训课程的费用。这些外佣抵达香港时,多数都要放弃每月薪水中的一大部分,来偿还国内的培训费用。这样一来,她们就被栓到了香港的新工作上,一旦情况恶化,要想离开也变得更难。

In Ms. Yayu’s case, things quickly became complicated with her employer. During her second week on the job, her employer, in a fit of rage, threw some cleaning product into her eyes. She fled out of fear. Her first instinct was to seek refuge with her placement agency, but she found that the agents there did not want to know about her troubles, and she was encouraged to return to her employer.

对雅玉来说,与雇主的关系很快就复杂了起来。那份工作开始第二周,她的雇主发起了脾气,甩了一些清洁用品到她眼睛里。她出于恐惧,逃了出来。她的第一反应是躲到介绍工作的中介公司,可是她发现那里的中介并不想了解她的麻烦,而是鼓励她回到雇主家。

By creating conditions that keep Indonesian women tied to their debts, while limiting their movements and underpaying them, the Indonesian and Hong Kong governments and the recruiters force maids into a form of indentured servitude. The people of Hong Kong should demand that their government rectify the legal discrimination and provide more protections for their domestic workers. And Indonesians should do their part to reshape the recruitment system so foreign worker safety and dignity come before profits.

通过创造出条件,让印尼女佣身负债务,同时限制她们的行动并且支付低薪,印尼和香港的政府以及招聘机构,实质上迫使这些外佣陷入了一种契约奴役的境地。香港人应当敦促政府,纠正法律中的歧视,并为佣人提供更多的保护。印尼人也应当做出应有的努力,重塑招聘体系,使其更重视外劳的安全和尊严,而非利润。

As Ms. Yayu told me in Hong Kong, “We come here to work, not to be humiliated or tortured.”

就像雅玉在香港对我说的,“我们来这里是为了工作,不是为了被羞辱、被折磨。”

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