Justice Without Borders recently led HOME’s Filipino caseworkers on good practices in evidence collection and identifying and handling victims’ civil compensation claims. The caseworkers are veterans in the field, with more than 10 years of work experience in Singapore. They constitute part of the critical front-line in access to just compensation.
HOME (Humanitarian Organization for Migration Economics) is dedicated to providing assistance and support services for migrant workers in Singapore who suffer abuse and exploitation. As a front-line organisation that provides immediate crisis intervention as well as long-term support, they are well-placed to identify victims’ claims for just compensation against their abusers, and the relevant evidence necessary to put together a claim.
JWB also invited experienced legal practitioner Mr. Jonathan Muk (Senior Associate at Drew & Napier LLC) to share his personal experiences in handling domestic worker cases. Mr. Muk also spoke about the types of evidence that caseworkers should collect at the outset, how workers can obtain compensation from abroad, and the role that lawyers play in helping the victims bring their claims against their abusers.
Our Singapore Pro Bono Officer, Ms. Tammie Koh, and Mr. Muk together discussed the common claims domestic workers may have and how workers can protect themselves. Strategies included:
– Keeping records of their employment contract
– Recording names and contact numbers of their employers and agents
– Documenting salary payments
– Collecting medical and police reports as soon as possible.
The speakers emphasised that strong evidence is necessary for a strong claim. Caseworkers can help by collecting crucial information and documents when the victim first seeks assistance, when documents may still be at hand.
The caseworkers in turn shared their practical experiences of labour exploitation cases and raised new client stories for discussion. Our speakers also discussed how as experienced workers themselves the caseworkers could empower younger workers by advising them on how to be ready for a claim, even before any issues arise.
As next steps, the caseworkers will work to identify potential claims among returnees, and work with JWB to ensure that clients can pursue their claims, even after returning home.
JWB is very thankful to our legal partners for being a part of the training, and we look forward to further supporting HOME’s work on behalf of migrant workers.