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Filipina Helper’s Death in China Sparks Human-Trafficking Investigation

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    A Filipina domestic helper’s death in Hong Kong is currently under investigation by local authorities as a possible “case of human-trafficking”.

    Lorain Asuncion fell from the seventh floor of an apartment building in Shenzhen after she was sent there to work by her employers from Hong Kong.

    The relatives of the 28-year-old victim are currently in Hong Kong, and are now seeking answers for the tragedy, according to the South China Morning Post.

    Human rights advocates pointed out how Asuncion’s death highlighted the “dangerous” practice of local employers who have been sending their helpers to work illegally outside the city. Growing complaints have indicated that the practice has become a trend in the past few years.

    Some cases also involved maids being hired in Hong Kong but eventually brought illegally to the mainland to work full-time for families there. Rights groups pointed out that doing so violates the helpers’ contracts.

    According to her family, who learned of her death on July 24, Asuncion had previously confided in them about how she felt horrible each time she was forced to go to the mainland with her employer.

    “She was afraid because of the language and when she was in [mainland] China she did not have access to social networks, so she could not talk to us,” her aunt, Susan Escorial said.

    Escorial further claimed that the victim was left in Shenzhen to serve another family while her employers went on vacation. Asuncion’s family claimed that she had been brought to the mainland about four times since she began working for her employers in October 2016.

    So far, they have not gotten any further details about her death as the Hong Kong employer refused to personally talk to the family. All questions have been asked and answered only through the consulate.

    “We were told that she jumped. But we think the death of my sister is very suspicious. We want to know what happened and have justice,” said her older sister, Jenevieve Javier.

    The SCMP reported that the Immigration Department of Hong Kong had dubbed it as a “suspected human-trafficking case”, which the police are already looking into.

    “We would like to reiterate that all kinds of crimes, including offenses related to human-trafficking, are not tolerated in Hong Kong. Police … will continue to conduct proactive investigation and prosecution of relevant cases,” a Hong Kong police spokesman was quoted as saying.

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