Updated: Feb 11
SyCip Salazar Hernandez & Gatmaitan (SyCipLaw) has signed a Cooperation Agreement with Justice Without Borders (JWB), pursuant to which SyCipLaw may provide JWB with pro bono services in connection with cross-border claims by returning overseas Filipino workers against their former employers and/or recruitment agencies in Singapore or Hong Kong.
JWB is a not-for-profit organization incorporated as charities in Hong Kong and the United States. It seeks to create transnational access to legal aid for victims of labor exploitation and human trafficking, enabling them to seek just compensation, even after they return home. Most of JWB’s clients are low-wage migrant domestic workers from Indonesia and the Philippines who have been exploited or abused by employers, employment agencies or loan agencies in Hong Kong or Singapore. Many of these workers face pressures to return home, where they encounter enormous difficulties pursuing civil compensation across borders. JWB works with local support organizations along key migration routes to ensure victims can access legal aid regardless of country.
“Because of JWB’s focus on cross-border access to justice, it is critical that we have reliable frontline and law firm partners in both host and home countries, to represent Filipino migrant worker clients who have valid claims against their employers or employment agencies. To date, JWB has partnerships with over 60 organisations across our jurisdictions and we are very proud to count SyCipLaw as one of them. We look forward to starting on casework with the SyCipLaw team in the near future,” said Justine Lam, Head of Office for Justice Without Borders in Hong Kong.
“We are thrilled to work with Justice Without Borders in providing victims of labor exploitation the opportunity to be treated fairly,” says Hector M. De Leon, Jr., the managing partner of SyCipLaw. “Labor exploitation continues to be a growing problem in Southeast Asia. With many migrant workers taking chances in other countries to provide a better future for their families, it is essential that their rights as employees are upheld by their employers and host country”.
SyCipLaw has a history of engagement in the area of worker’s rights. SyCipLaw together with Asylum Access, Host International, Refugee Access, and five other law firms from across Asia conducted research on refugee access to fair and lawful work in eight Asian countries. This work has been recognized by TrustLaw, the Thomson Reuters Foundation’s global pro-bono legal service, and was given TrustLaw’s Collaboration Award in its 2019 awards.