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Maid was punched, slapped for eating wrong fish, court was told

Dear Ms. Chong,

We refer to your article “Maid was punched, slapped for eating wrong fish, court was told” published in the Straits Times this 21 April 2015.

We appreciate the media coverage on issues related to abuse of foreign domestic workers as it is essential to the growth of society’s awareness. Moreover, we believe it is an important opportunity for broader discussion of general issues of concern regarding the situation of foreign domestic workers. Thank you for writing on this matter.

HOME has offered assistance to Ms Jonna Memeje Muegue since October 2012. Her case was referred to the Singapore Inter Agency Taskforce Against Trafficking in Persons and flagged by the Taskforce as a labour trafficking case in August 2014.

As a victim of human trafficking, we believe that her case requires extra attention. We are preoccupied with the publication of Jonna’s identity and picture in the press, without her consent. While we believe that those do not have any added value for the readers, they might have an extremely negative impact for the person who is trying to rebuild and go on with her live. You might be interested in the Guidelines published by UN Global Initiative to Fight Human Trafficking on covering human trafficking stories (Click Here).

On another note, we are equality concerned with the term “maid” as it appears in the press. This term might indeed come with negative perception in the reader’s mind. We prefer using the term “foreign domestic worker”, as it refers to a status of worker. It is also in accordance with the terminology of the Employment of Foreign Manpower Act as well as MOM communications.

Should you wish to discuss these feedbacks further, we would be of course happy to meet you.


Legal Consultant
Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (H.O.M.E.)