This piece originally appeared on the GOH website and is available to read HERE

Garden of Hope’s 2017 OBR campaign aims to support human rights protection of female domestic migrant workers in Taiwan. This is their recent statement regarding a sexual assault case  of an Indonesian domestic migrant worker. Further actions are taking place during Garden of Hope’s/ OBR Taiwan’s annual V-Men Run – which is also the launch of One Billion Rising Taiwan 2017.

Support Human Rights Protection Of Female Domestic Migrant Workers – join OBR Taiwan Anti-Violence Actions

Garden of Hope Foundation’s Announcement:Employer and Brokers Should Take Major Responsibility on Sexual Assault of Domestic Migrant Worker. 

Ⅰ. Humanitarian Appeal: 

Indonesian migrant workers uprooted to Taiwan working as domestic migrant workers to share long-term care burdens for many Taiwan people. From the perspectives of humanitarian stand point, not only should we give care and support for them but also should we appreciate their effort to fulfill filial duties for many families. 

This year’s OBR topic is against exploitation. Nowadays, women are exploited and oppressed in different levels because of globalization. One level is deeply rooted in patriarchal social structure; women are constantly marginalized and subordinated. The patriarchal society forces women into submission and subjugation. This provides a fertile ground for domination and control over women which results into another level. This level builds upon exploiting women’s and girls’ labour and bodies in which combines imperialism and capitalism to explore poor women and girls for grabbing enormous transnational business and interest. 

The abuse of the planet, and the commodification and dehumanization of women’s bodies in the service of profit, and in the service of other nations profit and development, is the most criminal act of abuse and power. This is especially so when the exploitation is being done to the most marginalized women – indigenous women, workers, migrants, domestic workers, the urban poor and peasant women. 

Taiwan imports female domestic migrant workers with minimum wage but demands them long-hour work which itself is the example of capitalism explores women’s labour. Although Garden of Hope Foundation cannot improve their working environment but at least we can ask Government and related institutions to provide more protection and seriously enforce laws. 

Ⅱ. Fragile Situation of Domestic Migrant Workers: 

Recently, the Indonesian domestic migrant worker’s sexual assault news has provoked the Taiwan public. GOH hopes to call for more people care more about the issue of gendered violence against migrant workers; to realize their venerability and difficulty working in Taiwan, and to report guilty employers to reduce gendered violence against migrant workers. Fragile Situation of Domestic Migrant Workers can be understood in three folds:  

1. Domestic migrant workers mostly work in an isolated private house; it is easier for them to be situated within threat of sexual violence. From empirical experiences of GOH, many domestic migrant workers are demanded to sleep at the same room with the care-receiver, even on the same bed. They are deprived of privacy and very easy to get assaulted sexually. 

2. Domestic migrant workers are unable to access full information and lack of supportive system because the isolation working environment which results into learned helplessness after being assault. In this event, Indonesian migrant worker videoed the criminal act via mobile phone thus the guilty of the employer can be uncovered. However, some of them are taken away their mobiles and are prohibited going out alone, it is more difficult to ask for help or collect proof of evidence.

3. Domestic migrant workers often in huge debut to brokers because of migration. They only hope to keep their job and make money with hard work thus they are afraid of reporting sexual assault. Also, the shame is another reason for women not to report their victimizing experiences. Although some of good agency will encourage them call 1955 hotline and assist them transfer employer, some of bad agency only told them to endure or ignore their help. These are reasons why domestic migrant workers constantly being assaulted. 

Ⅲ. Suggestion to remodify law: 

1. GOH calls for remodify “Sexual Assault Prevention Law, Section 8” add agency and broker into responsible reporter of sexual assault case. If they are informed of sexual assault case, they should report to local authority within 24 hours. 

2. Once again, GOH calls for employers and their family members to take the shared responsibilities. If there is sexual harassment or sexual assault case happened, according to Gender Equality Employment Law Section 12, employers and their family members should bear the shared compensation responsibilities together.