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Hong Kong SAR

The Situation
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China is a transit and destination territory for human trafficking.

Transit
Hong Kong is a transit territory for illegal immigrants, some of whom become trafficked for sexual exploitation and forced labor in their destination country.1

Destination
Hong Kong is a destination territory for a small number of women and men who are trafficked from China, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Columbia for sexual exploitation and forced labor. Many women voluntarily migrate to work in Hong Kong but are later coerced into exploitative conditions. Estimates of international trafficking victims are modest.2

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region was placed in Tier 1 in the 2007 U.S. Department of State’s Trafficking in Persons Report for fully complying with the Trafficking Victims Protection Act’s minimum standards. There are no reports of government officials who are complicit in human trafficking.3 

Hong Kong does not have a law that specifically criminalizes human trafficking; however there are various laws that can be used to prosecute traffickers.4 

Sex trafficking is criminalized through the Immigration Ordinance, the Crimes Ordinance, and the Stowaways Ordinance; labor trafficking is criminalized through the Employment Ordinance. Penalties are commensurate with those for rape, ranging from heavy fines to up to 14 years for recruiting or obtaining illegal travel documents.5  

Prosecution
In 2006, ten people were arrested for alleged trafficking for sexual exploitation in Hong Kong. Five were charged with related offenses, and the rest were released following the victims' repatriation. There have been several successful prosecutions against employers who exploited their domestic workers.6 

Protection
Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government provides legal aid and legal alternatives for victims who participate in the investigation and prosecution of their traffickers. The Hong Kong police have special units to provide for the protection of victims and witnesses of all crimes, including trafficking. Victims may initiative civil proceedings against their trafficker. Most victims were sent to existing government subsidized NGO shelters and one shelter run by the Social Welfare Department.7

Prevention
The Hong Kong government raises awareness through an array of activities. The government has distributed pamphlets in several languages to explain workers rights, launched a campaign to alert visitors of human trafficking through information posted on government websites. In March 2007, the Social Welfare Department established a 24-hour crisis hotline that improves coordination among various government departments to deal with reports of sexual violence. In December 2006, the Hong Kong authorities participated in the Asian Organized Crime (AOC) Expert Group Meeting, organized by Interpol, which addressed the issue of trafficking from Southeast Asian countries to Western Europe.8 

Recommendations
The U.S. Department of State recommends that the government should consider closer collaboration with source countries of women trafficked for prostitution as well as conducting a public awareness campaign aimed at customers.9 

____________________

1  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
2  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
3  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
4  2006 US Department of State Human Rights Report
5  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
6  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
7  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
8  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report
9  2007 US Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report


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