To see a safe and just Hong Kong for everyone
To empower domestic workers through advice and assistance, education and advocacy and help them gain access to justice and receive fair and equal treatment.
In 1989, James Collins, a barrister from Wales and a worshipping member of St John’s Cathedral, offered a sympathetic ear to the problems of domestic workers in Hong Kong. He and other lawyers started to provide free advice to the domestic workers on Sundays. Soon, they were overwhelmed as the demand for their assistance grew, and the Cathedral provided a telephone and an office for them to work from. The domestic workers were aided with employment, immigration and human rights issues. James felt it was important that these workers had access to the law and knew their rights regarding the law. Today, HELP for Domestic Workers has four full-time staff and a team of volunteers to assist in providing advice and support to domestic workers in need.
James was committed to assisting domestic workers even after he retired in 2015. At his retirement dinner, he highlighted the fact that 25 years after he founded the organisation that the need of their services was even greater than when he started.
James was compassionate and caring and an accomplished barrister. In 2000, James represented a domestic worker in a landmark case, Bachiva v Poon, which helped establish the principle that gives employees, including domestic workers in Hong Kong who have been subjected to abuse the right to claim general damages. The result of the case provides for a fairer level of compensation than statutory damages, to which employees had been previously limited. James passed away in 2016 and his legacy lives on at HELP for Domestic Workers.
Founded by a group of lawyers who worshipped at St John’s Cathedral
HELP attends UN high-level dialogue on migration and development in NYC
Recipient of Mission Possible funding of HK$1M to fund member of staff for three years
Named one of “Hong Kong’s Everyday Heroes of 2016” by South China Morning Post
Relaunched as HELP for Domestic Workers with a fresh identity and website
Celebrating our 30th Year of providing are advice, assistance and education and advocacy. Over 100,000 workers have passed through our doors .
What We Do
- Explain to domestic workers their legal rights
- Guide domestic workers in pursuing claims in the Labour Tribunal and other Courts
- Create and distribute resources that inform of and empower domestic workers to know their legal rights
- Give advice in cases where a domestic worker is accused of a criminal offence
- Write letters to employers and recruitment agencies on behalf of clients and help to negotiate settlement agreements when possible, to avoid protracted litigations
- Assist domestic workers to draft witness statements and Court documents for use in Court proceedings
- Prepare clients for conciliation meetings and Court hearings
- Assist clients in recovery of excessive and unlawful commission (placement fees) paid to employment agencies
- Liaise with various government agencies including the Hong Kong Police, Immigration and Labour Departments about clients’ cases
- Assist in the recovery of client’s personal belongings and other documents unlawfully taken from them
- Engage the government in dialogue to see improvement of laws and regulations that affect domestic workers
We employ four full-time staff and a group of 100+ dedicated volunteers that constantly endeavor to find ways to ensure that domestic workers not only understand their legal rights, but also know the best way of protecting and pursuing these rights.
Learn more about the HELP staff, our loyal volunteers and the board.
Meet the team »
HELP benefited from over 9,000 pro-bono hours from volunteers during 2018, including lawyers and other professionals.
We couldn’t do what we do without the help of generous individuals and groups from the Hong Kong community. Meet a few of our volunteers and learn how you can get involved with HELP.
Meet our volunteers »
Though we got our start as Helpers for Domestic Helpers (HDH), it was time for change in order to stay current with the times. Our organisation’s mission is to aid and support domestic workers and help them gain access to justice under the law.
Changing our name is about human dignity.
With a new name comes a new look. Learn more about the rationale and design behind our brand.
Read now »