Asian domestic workers sexually abused, beaten and forced to starve by foreign employers
Journalist Karen Emmons went looking for scars when she wanted to document the plight of Asian domestic workers.
She found at least 25 women who told her about the physical and emotional scars they had experienced while trying to make a living abroad.
Emmons worked with photojournalist Steve McCurry, best known for his famous National Geographic cover photo of an Afghan girl, to document the abuse faced by domestic workers from Asia.
She said she was most struck by the women who were called a dog or a pig, or told they were worse than a pig and a dog.
"It was that dehumanising of them that I found most troubling," she said.
Warning: This story contains strong language and graphic images that might be disturbing to some viewers.
McCurry said these women were "often uneducated, naive women who [were] simply trying to make a better life".
"Many of these women are afraid to report the [abuse]. They are worried about their families, the recriminations and that they will be ostracised and outcast if word gets back they've been raped or they haven't received the money," he told The World program.
"In many cases, these problems are kept quiet because these women are uninformed and just scared."
The exhibition, funded by the International Labour Organisation, is currently on display in Hong Kong.
PHOTO: Sritak was accused of stealing by her employer who poured hot water on her body.(Supplied: Steve McCurry)
He took a hot fork that he had heated on the stove top and he put it on my hand. He pressed the hot fork onto my hand ... It's quite strange, like he had the devil inside.
Sritak worked for a Taiwanese employer who made her work from 6:00am to midnight daily. Her passport was taken away and her freedom to talk to her family or outsiders was restricted.
She was once beaten with an iron pipe after being accused of stealing and her employer poured hot water on her body.
The Indonesian woman has more than 20 scars, including a long slash across her face.
"This kind of sadistic, cruel treatment just should not have to be endured by anybody," McCurry said.
PHOTO: Sumasri's back and thighs were heavily scarred from the boiling water her male employer threw at her.(Supplied: Steve McCurry)
I go to the clinic regularly to get medication. Now it is not painful any more. It was most painful the first four months.
Sumasri's back and thighs were heavily scarred after her Malaysian employer threw boiling water at her.
The story of exactly what happened to her often changes each time she recounts it.
Neighbours in her east Java village in Indonesia say she is no longer mentally stable.
PHOTO: 'Anis' had her finger nearly chopped off by her employer in Hong Kong because the family dog was barking.(Supplied: Steve McCurry)
Five days after Anis (not her real name) arrived at her employer's house in Hong Kong, the family's barking dog woke and enraged her female employer.
Shouting in Cantonese, the woman pulled Anis into the kitchen and grabbed a butcher's knife.
Anis jerked away, but her ring finger tendon was sliced and the bone fractured.
The Indonesian domestic worker escaped with the help of a building security guard and another domestic worker.
PHOTO: Haryatin lost her sight after being hit on the head with a pipe by her employer.(Supplied: Steve McCurry)
Once I had said: "If you don't like me, please send me to the office, please send me home." She said: "How nice, how lucky you are to go home. If I don't like, I just hit or I kill you.
Haryatin worked for a woman with nine children who continually insulted and hit her and made her sleep in a storage room in Saudi Arabia.
At 3:00am, while Haryatin was washing school uniforms, her employer rubbed the baby's faeces-filled diaper into Harayatin's face because she had not been quick enough to change it.
Soon after, Haryatin, who is from Indonesia, lost her sight after being hit on the head with a pipe.
She was forced to stay, and keep working, until the swelling disappeared.
PHOTO: Siti was sexually harassed by her employer in Oman.(Supplied: Steve McCurry)
She said, 'Come here, dog. Come here. You are stupid. You are a dog. Helper come here'.
Siti left Indonesia to work in Saudi Arabia, clocking 20 hours a day.
She did not get enough to eat and had to sleep on a mattress on the floor of a storage room.
In Oman, when she complained about being sexually harassed by her male employer, his wife slapped and abused her.
In Hong Kong, she had to work at night, was verbally abused and her food was rationed.
PHOTO: Mary Grace was starved and sexually abused in Malaysia.(Supplied: Steve McCurry)
The owner of the agency said to me: "F*** you. You b****. All your family, your young son will die. You, f*** you. You are a b****. Your son will die." Then he threw his coffee mug at my face.
Mary Grace, from the Philippines, worked for two employers, neither of whom gave her enough to eat.
One day she fainted while at a market. She woke up in an ambulance to find herself being sexually abused by the attendant.
When she tried to report the assault at the hospital a nurse told her to be quiet. She left Malaysia with no earnings.
If you are in an abusive situation or know someone who is, call 1800 RESPECT. If it is an emergency, call triple-0. You can also call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or contact the Safe Futures Foundation.