Modern Heros, Modern Slaves

This is an ongoing project for domestic workers who are hailed as modern heroes in their countries but treated as modern slaves. Domestic workers are often vulnerable to human rights violation. Modern slavery seldom makes it in the news and often ignored as if it’s the norm. A huge number of domestic workers in Hong Kong suffer from physical, mental and verbal abuse from their employers but refuse to speak out due to fear of losing their jobs. Being a domestic worker myself for almost a decade, I can relate to what they are going through, our voices are unheard and our most basic human rights violated. Social Exclusion, Discrimination and Slavery happen behind closed doors everyday. Some of us who can’t take the daily exploitation, run away and rescued by Bethune House Shelter. Hidden from the public eye and cramped inside a 900 Sq. Ft of a tiny flat, this is what happens inside the shelter where distressed and displaced domestic workers seek hope and justice. This is Hong Kong's open secret. I hope to be the voice of my fellow domestic workers by using photography as a tool to let our muted voices be heard and stop the injustice that we experience behind close doors. I want to continue the project and photograph domestic workers whose human rights have been violated but don’t have the voice to speak out. It’s happening not only in Hong Kong but also in every country specially in South East Asia that hires
domestic workers. We are treated like commodities in our countries and being sent to different parts of the world. Our stories deserve a worldwide audience and by planting seed of awareness through photography, we bring change.

900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Shirley Dalisay is a 31 year old Filipina Domestic Worker in Hong Kong. She is one of the many helpers that suffer from human rights abuse from their employers but never made the news. Bethune House Shelter,Hong Kong July 02 2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Shirley Dalisay Showing images of her burn. Treatment requires hospitalisation.Her employer refused Doctor recomended sick leave for recuperation and terminated their contract which is against Hong Kong labor law. Bethune House,Hong Kong July 02,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
An image of Jesus Christ in one of the residents locker while Sunarwi,an Indonesian domestic worker rest after a stressful day at the court.Bethune House,Hong Kong July 09,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Aniya,an Indonesian Muslim pray in a makeshift prayer area while other residents continue their business. All religions are embraced in the shelter providing moral support as they await for justice. Bethune House, Hong Kong, September 17,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Shirley suffered third degree burns over much of her back and arms when her employer hid a pot of boiling soup in the family's shoerack where shirley store her shoes.Bethune House, Hong Kong August 26,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Shirley Dalisay documents details of her abuse in a diary as she prepares a labor case against her former employer. Bethune House , Hong Kong September 25,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Banjo,a lesbian member of LGBT community watch as other residents prepare food for dinner. They take turn cooking in the tiny kitchen.Bethune House accept all types of sexuality and discourage discrimination. Bethune House,Hong Kong May 09,2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Victims of abuse comfort one another during one of the sharing sessions at the shelter. A boost of morale is needed when most cases are being delayed and drag too long ;some of them just give up and go home. When a domestic worker file a case,she can not work in HK so she stop sending money for her family back home. Bethune House, Hong Kong October 11,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
With bunkbeds of ten and current twenty one residents in 900 Square Feet, some women sleep in make shift beds on the floor. The shelter is always over populated.Bethune House,Hong Kong September17,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Victims of abuse learn different arts and craft they can use when they reintegrate in the society. . Bethune House, Hong Kong April 27,2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Sunarwi and Kuryati,Indonesian domestic workers doing their personal business at the shelters back door where they hang their clothes.The main problem of Indonesian Workers are under payment of wages. Often,they are paid less than other nationalities which is against the minimum wage set by the HongKong government.Bethune House,Hong Kong July 02,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Entrance of the original Bethune House Shelter in Kowloon. Because of its tiny space,it can not accomodate the distressed domestic workers prompting to renting another small flat in Sheung Wan,Hong Kong.August,16,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Lilibeth looking at her baby ultrasound images. She was terminated when she ask for her maternity rights.Her employer illegaly kept her passport and tore it.Bethune House, Hong Kong March 09,2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Baby Yuan is a son of a domestic worker who was sentenced to jail due to false accusation. He was born premature while his mother is in jail. Bethune House January 07,2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Residents of the shelter celebrating christmas at kowloon church. They read their wishes and sing christmas songs. This activities of celebration put a smile on their faces once in a while and make them forget about their cases. Kowloon Church,Hong Kong December 25,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Doris and maricel,FIlipino Domestic Workers wait for their turn in the toilet. The residents share a tiny toilet and buy their own toiletries which is heavy for them because they dont have any income while they wait for their court hearings. Bethune House,HongKong December 25,2014
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Baby yuan is now three months old. He and his mother stayed at the shelter while waiting for their case to move forward. Baby yuan is not given the Right of Abode even though he is born in HongKong because his mother is a domestic worker.Bethune House,Hong KongApril 05,2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Minarsi having a moment of laughter during mothers day when the residents talk about their children they left back home. She has a son in Indonesia. Bethune House,May 14 2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Aniya joining the protest during Labor day. After staying for almost a year in the shelter,she took her cry for justice at the street.She is a victim of agency illegal recruitment and activities. Hong Kong, May 01,2015
900 Square Feet of Hidden Hope
Erwiana Sulistyaningsi inside Wanchai district court. She won the case when the judge ruled that her former employer is guilty of 18 charges. February 27,2105