Champion of Migrant Workers’ Rights & Founder of Home Bridget Tan Dies at Age 73


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

Founded Home & Advocated Migrant Workers’ Rights

In a Facebook post on Monday evening, Home announced the news of her passing.

In February 2014, Tan suffered a stroke and had since been recuperating in Batam while working with non-profit groups there.

Prior to setting up Home, she worked in the field of human resources and was the Chairperson of the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrants and Itinerant People (ACMI).

Home wrote, “Bridget 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.”

Tan was a pioneer in the field, spearheading the service which was “almost non-existent” at the time and even using her retirement funds to set up Home in 2004.

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She played an active role in contributing to public discussion on the welfare and rights of migrants to change mindsets and policies. She was also active on international and regional advocacy platforms.

True Friend & Ally

Beyond making changes in society, Tan was also a close friend of those she helped.

Home wrote that she was a “true friend and ally of the migrants” who always provided a listening ear and extended a helping hand to many in need.

“For me, social justice is the responsibility of each and every person. The strong must help the weak; the rich should help the poor. Those who are knowledgeable should help those who aren’t. We all have a part to play,” Home quoted Tan in the post.


The group said she has been an inspiration to many in Singapore and overseas and would provide details of her wake once they have been confirmed.

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Home has since provided help to more than 50,000 migrant workers and victims of human trafficking.

Tan was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 by the PeaceWomen Across the Globe organisation.

In 2011, she received the Hero Acting to End Modern-Day Slavery Award from then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The award is given to those who have devoted their lives to the fight against human trafficking.

Tan was also inducted into the Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015 for her advocacy and activism.

Fellow Workers Express Condolences

In a Facebook post, social worker Jolovan Wham, 42, called Tan one of the “giants in civil society and the migrant worker space”.

He had first met her in 2002 and claimed that she was a “fierce advocate” who “never minced her words”.

Wham admitted that he had found it difficult to work with Tan at times but she was also “incredibly generous, kind, compassionate with a deep commitment to social justice”.

Speaker of Parliament Tan Chuan-Jin also expressed his condolences.


In a Facebook post, he said he had worked with Mrs Tan on migrant worker matters when he was in the Ministry of Manpower.

He wrote, “She cared passionately for our migrant workers and championed their concerns and actively looked out for their well-being. She was a tireless campaigner for them and I am grateful for her work, her love and dedication.”

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Featured Image: Facebook (HOME) + (Jolovan Wham)