In 2009, 16-year-old Nisrina* left her remote village in Indonesia’s Banten Province in the hope of making more money to help her family.
“My auntie introduced me to a broker who forged my travel documents so I could work,” she said. “The broker then took me to a recruitment agency in Jakarta. I just wanted to earn more money. I thought Allah would protect me.”
The agency arranged for Nisrina’s travel to Hong Kong and placement as a domestic worker, but she soon found she was being exploited by her employer. “I was only allowed to sleep for about two hours a day, sometimes less,” said Nisrina. “I had to take care of four children and clean the apartment. The mother and auntie of the children often beat me with sandals or punched me for no reason, and sometimes until my nose bled.”
“I was only allowed to sleep for about two hours a day, sometimes less”
In 2010, having endured physical abuse for over a year, her employer began to withhold her pay, and Nisrina could not take it anymore. She attempted suicide by drinking a glass of kerosene.
“My employer found me unconscious and allowed me to rest, but the next day, they made me work again,” she said.
Eventually, Nisrina ran away from her employer and roamed the streets of Hong Kong looking for work until a local shopkeeper took her to the police station. Hong Kong police then took her to the Indonesian Embassy, who arranged for her repatriation to a shelter for trafficked women in Jakarta, where she is now recovering.
*All names & identifying information have been changed to protect the identity of the survivor.
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A version of this story was originally published at www.stophk.org on March 16,2016. Story provided by the Diocesan Pastoral Centre for Filipinos.