The governments of these countries encourage the migration, which eases unemployment at home and provides a source of income via remittances. Year-over-year increases of foreign domestic workers in Hong Kong have started to trail off—perhaps pointing to a day when the global supply of housekeeper labor will tighten enough that Hong Kongers will have no choice but to pay their domestic staff a better wage. Filipino women replaced Chinese domestic workers in the s as the mainland economy took off. In the s, Indonesian maids who would often work for half of what the minimum allowable wage was at the time became popular. Adwina Antonio, executive director of the Belthune House, a shelter for domestic workers, says that as of the third quarter of , the shelter had dealt with 7, cases of alleged abuse, versus 3, for all of Taking into account inflation and the value of the Hong Kong dollar against other currencies, many foreign domestic workers are making less than they would have 16 years ago. Countries are also taking a cue from Hong Kong. And Hong Kong needs these domestic helpers as much as the workers themselves need the work. Ever since , Hong Kong has required that foreign domestic workers live with their employers, a rule that exposes workers to unlimited working hours and gives them few avenues for escape if their employers become abusive.
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