Bridget Tan, founder of migrant worker rights group Home, dies aged 73

Tan was described as a "true friend and ally of the migrants".

Low Jia Ying | April 19, 2022, 12:30 PM

Bridget Tan, the founder of migrant worker rights group the Humanitarian Organisation for Migration Economics (Home), passed away on Apr. 18, aged 73.

According to a Facebook post put up by Home, Tan had suffered a stroke in February 2014 and had spent the last few years in Batam, where she recuperated while working with non-profit groups there.

"We are deeply saddened by the news, and our prayers are with her family," said the migrant rights group.

Set up Home in 2004

Home said Tan was "an untiring advocate and champion of the rights of migrant workers".

"She played a key role in establishing Home's current activities, which includes our shelter for abused domestic workers, skills training programmes, and our legal and employment advice services for all migrant workers," said Home.

Tan was described as a "pioneer in the field". Home said such services were almost non-existent when Home was formally established in 2004.

Tan contributed actively to public discussions on the welfare and rights of migrants to "change mindsets and policies".

She was also active on international and regional advocacy platforms, said Home.

"Bridget was a true friend and ally of the migrants; she always provided a listening ear and extended a helping hand to many in need," Home added.

Nominated for Nobel Peace Prize, inducted into Singapore Women's Hall of Fame

According to The Straits Times, Tan was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 by the PeaceWomen Across the Globe organisation.

In 2011, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton presented Tan with the Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award for her work in fighting human trafficking.

In 2015, Tan was inducted into the Singapore Women's Hall of Fame for her advocacy and activism.

After news of her passing, tributes poured in from those who had worked with her or who were moved by her work.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin posted a tribute on Facebook, and expressed his gratefulness for the work she accomplished.

"She cares passionately for our migrant workers and champion their concerns and actively look out for their well-being. She is a tireless campaigner for them and I am grateful for her work, her love and dedication," he wrote.

Social worker Jolovan Wham also thanked Tan for her role in making Wham the person he is today:

"A lot of who I am today is because of her: whether it was because she shaped my values and outlook in ways that nobody did when I first knew her in my early 20s, or because I rebelled against her later on. One of the giants in civil society and the migrant worker space is gone. She will definitely be missed."

Home said Tan's life was an "inspiration" to many in Singapore and overseas.

"Her legacy will live on here at Home," it added.

Top photo via Home/FB