Life & Style

Domestic worker graduates with honours four years after being tortured by employer

Erwiana Sulistyaningsih, an Indonesian domestic worker was brutally tortured and starved by her employer in 2014 till it became a critical condition. The 28-year-old has now graduated from the university with top honours.

Erwiana was reported to have been left with horrific injuries by her employer four years ago after which she graduated with top honours with a degree in business management last Friday.

The 28-year-old graduate who was able to pursue her degree after she was awarded a scholarship by the university, thanked God, the university, friends, family, and a number of migrant worker organizations, and pledged to use her degree to help others.

She wrote on Facebook;

“God willing I will dedicate my time for the people, and I will continue helping in the collective struggles of those who are oppressed.”

Tortured Sulistyaningsih whose sad story began in 2013 when took up a job as a domestic worker in Hong Kong to earn money to pay her tuition, sparked international outrage in 2014 after she was admitted to hospital in Indonesia in a critical condition, and pictures of her injuries were made public.

She prevailed in her two-year legal bid to claim HK$809,430 (US$103,480) in damages from her abusive employer, with a judge calling her mistreatment “inhumane, degrading and abhorrent”. In granting the civil claim, District Court judge Winnie Tsui Wan-wah awarded the former helper the full amount she sought, disregarding the employer Law Wan-tung’s assertions that Erwiana’s injuries were exaggerated.
Sulistyaningsih told a Hong Kong court in December how she lived on nothing but bread and rice for months, slept only four hours a day and was beaten so badly by her employer Law Wan-tung that she was knocked unconscious. Prosecutors told the court, Law, 44, turned household items such as a mop, a ruler and a clothes hanger into “weapons” against her maids.
Her case shone the spotlight on the more than 330,000 domestic helpers in the city, and the hardship they experienced as maids. It also resulted in Law being found guilty of 18 assault and labour-related charges on February 10, 2015 for hurting Erwiana and another helper, Tutik Lestari Ningsih.

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