This paper was written in partial fulfillment of the requirements in the Master in Public Policy Program at the Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to our client, Mr. Manolo Abella of the ILO/EU Asian Programme on the Governance of Labour Migration. Without his generous support and that of the ILO, this project would not have been possible. It is our hope that this report will be of use to the ILO and their continued efforts to provide decent work for all, particularly migrant workers.
We would also like to thank the Ash Institute of Harvard University whose generous funding allowed us to travel to Hong Kong to interview the subjects of this study – Filipino and Indonesian foreign domestic helpers – enhancing our understanding and hopefully that of our readers on this growing governance dilemma.
We also acknowledge and thank the following people for their contributions to this project:
To our faculty advisory committee—Professors Jacqueline Bhabha, Mary Ruggie and Julie Wilson—we remain grateful for your encouragement, guidance and support. We would also like to acknowledge Professor Martha Chen whose networks in international migration made our client engagement possible.
To our networks in Hong Kong—our field work in Hong Kong went smoothly thanks to the help of the numerous NGOs and CSOs we met on the ground. In particular, infinite thanks to: Cynthia Abdon-Tellez, Ario Adityo, Ade “Ipang” Ahmad, Dolores Balladares, “Gi” Estrada, Eni Lestari, and Mia Sumiati who provided us a window into the often overlooked hardships female foreign domestic helpers face; facilitated the administration of our survey; and linked us to a wider network of migrant organizations.
To our survey translators—Ludi Mahadi, David Ng, Ray Parsioan and Ahmad Shariff—your translations allowed us to include dozens of first hand accounts of Indonesian foreign domestic helpers into our findings, giving life to their struggles. To our personal support networks—your encouragement, love, and understanding proved invaluable. Notable thanks to Roy Cervantes whose patience, ability to make pivot tables fun and fresh feedback should not go unmentioned. To our families—we thank you for providing constant mental nourishment and your migrant experiences that inspired us to undertake this research.