'Slave' in Singapore: I was too scared to ask for pay

'Slave' in Singapore: I was too scared to ask for pay

She toiled at her employer's restaurant for 17 hours a day, with no day off or holiday for more than four years.

Ms Maria Luisa Cuizon, 42, who was hired as a domestic helper, was not aware it was illegal for her employer to deploy her in the restaurant.

For two years, the Filipina, who earned $400 a month, was happy. Her employer praised her for being hard-working and even bought her gifts and clothes.

Then, her employer stopped paying her. He said he had financial problems.

Ms Cuizon continued working for him, hoping to be paid later. It never happened, not even when she pleaded for $150 for her son's graduation in the Philippines.

She claimed that this went on for two years and the money owed to her amounted to almost $9,000.

Finally, she decided that enough was enough and sought help from the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) last year.

This month, her employer, Chia Chuan Huat, pleaded guilty to six charges of failing to pay her salary within seven days of the salary period and a charge for failing to ensure that she worked only at the address stated in her work permit.

He was fined $4,500. As he could not pay the fine, he was jailed for four weeks.

Sadly for Ms Cuizon, she still cannot get the money owed to her.

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