On 22nd June 2021, Gaiyathiri Murugayan, a 41-year-old housewife was sentenced to 30 years in prison for starving, torturing, and ultimately killing her domestic worker from Myanmar. The victim, Piang Ngaih Don, was only 24 years old when she started working for the family in 2015. The final assault caused her death in July 2016, where she weighed a mere 24kg.
This case was described as “among the worst cases of culpable homicide” by High Court judge See Kee Oon. Senior Counsel Mohamed Faizal who led the prosecution also described the manner in which Gaiyathiri treated her domestic worker as “evil and utterly inhumane”.
This is saddening news, but it’s also a stark reminder that we all have a part to play in giving every person the freedom to live and work with dignity and respect.
We at Helpling don’t condone any form of abuse or bullying of our service providers. Our helpers are strongly encouraged to communicate with us and they are free to let us know if they’re facing any issues with their customers. We care about their mental well-being and will do whatever we can to help whenever they’re facing any difficulties.
103 Burmese service providers participated in our happiness pause check survey back in 2019. The survey found that 97% of them prefer to be a part-time helper on our platform rather than being a full-time domestic helper.
The main reason why is because they have more freedom as a part-time helper with us. They get to choose what they want to eat, have their own personal space, and get to go home to rest and relax after they’ve completed their jobs. These are things that we take for granted, but are things that they treasure greatly. And we are happy to be able to allow them this kind of freedom.
A word from our Head of Operations, Zhong Jingjing: “We have heard many horror stories from our service providers from their past, and we are extremely grateful to have them on our platform now. We strive to create a healthy, fair and respectful working environment for all our helpers. Everyone deserves to be treated equally, regardless of our background.”
We are committed to protect our service providers and build an environment where they can live and work with dignity and without fear. Although we’re waging a never-ending battle against the black market and unfair cleaning companies, we strive to provide our helpers with fair opportunities. We love our people and do our best to support them and keep them happy.
Come together and show your support for the workers in our midst. If you know or suspect that someone might be struggling, help them seek help at organisations such as Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics (HOME), or Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE).
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