Legislative Council heavyweight Emily Lau Wai-Hing is at the forefront of efforts to push for more stringent controls protecting domestic workers, chairing meetings that bring together government officials with concerned NGOs. READ MORE: Prey to loan sharks: how many Hong Kong domestic helpers get caught in a terrifying spiral of debt In December she led a meeting between members of the Domestic Workers Roundtable – a coalition established last year – and Commissioner for Labour Donald Tong, in which the government’s plans to institute best practice guidelines for employment agencies were discussed alongside other issues related to domestic worker rights. “[The labour commissioner] briefed us about the guidelines for employment agencies which his department was preparing, and we urged him to consult us in advance,” said Lau of the meeting. A source who attended the meeting described feeling “optimistic” that the commissioner took to heart the suggestions made by members of the Domestic Helper Roundtable. READ MORE: Accusations, swear words and the vortex of debt hit Hong Kong domestic helper A further meeting took place last week between the NGOs and Immigration Director Eric Chan Kwok-ki, which Lau describes as having been successful in bringing about a consensus over the fact that more should be done to protect domestic helpers. No concrete plans have come out of either meetings. “I feel very sorry for the foreign domestic workers, many of whom have to pay a lot of money to the agents in order to get the job, so many of them arrive in Hong Kong heavily in debt,” she said.