Hong Kong maintains border and immigration control. There is inter-agency coordination among the police, immigration, customs, private industry, and the NGO community. The government distributes multi-lingual pamphlets in key public areas to inform foreign women of their worker rights. However, the government does not provide funding to foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims of trafficking.1
Police from Australia, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom (and Canada) have worked together to uncover people smuggling rings.
Hong Kong has no specific anti-trafficking law, but related criminal ordinances are used to prosecute traffickers. From 2002-2003, there has been increased sharing of intelligence with friendly governments and more international cooperation on prosecutions. Although regularly published reports and general statistics are made available by law enforcement to keep the public informed, the government needs to take steps to keep better statistics on trafficking victims.2
Provisions in the Immigration Ordinance, the Crimes Ordinance, and other relevant laws enabled law enforcement authorities to take action against trafficking in persons. The courts can impose heavy fines and prison sentences for up to 14 years for such activities as arranging passage of unauthorized entrants into Hong Kong, assisting unauthorized entrants to remain, using or possessing a forged, false or unlawfully obtained travel document, and aiding and abetting any person to use such a document. The Security Bureau has policy responsibility for combating migrant trafficking and oversees the police, customs, and immigration departments, which are responsible for enforcing anti-trafficking laws. Law enforcement officials received specialized training on handling and protecting victims and vulnerable witnesses, including victims of trafficking.
Legal aid was available to those who chose to pursue legal proceedings against an employer, and immunity from prosecution was often made available to those who assisted in the investigation and prosecution of traffickers. An array of social services provided by the Social Welfare Department and local NGOs were available to victims of trafficking. The Government did not provide funding to foreign or domestic NGOs for services to victims. The Government's prevention efforts included providing pamphlets to workers about their rights; the pamphlets were widely distributed and were published in a wide range of languages.3
Trafficking victims have access to temporary lodging in women's refugee centers, basic necessities, medical services, and a victim support center. Women who provide testimony against their traffickers are granted immunity and allowed to return home without penalty. Foreign domestic helpers are given the same access to services as local workers in labor suits, such as free legal aid, against employers.4
Representatives from the Police, Immigration Department and Customs and Excise Department had participated in a number of overseas conferences and workshops, The following are examples:
1 2002 United States Department of State Human Rights Report for Hong Kong SAR.
2 United States State Department 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report for Hong Kong SAR.
3 2003 United States Department of State Human Rights Report for Hong Kong SAR.
4 United States State Department 2003 Trafficking in Persons Report for Hong Kong SAR.
5 2003 United States Department of State Human Rights Report for Hong Kong SAR.
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