Hong Kong fails to comply with human trafficking standards for 7th straight year

The Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report released by the US State Department has ranked Hong Kong’s efforts to combat human trafficking at Tier 2, failing to comply with minimum standards.

Released annually, the report examines the efforts made by governments around the world towards combating human trafficking within their borders.

The report ranks countries on a system of Tier 1, Tier 2, Tier 2-Watch List, and Tier 3, with Tier 1 being the highest and Tier 3 being the lowest.

The TIP report states that the Hong Kong government last year failed to provide 26 potential victims of human trafficking with protective services, even though the cases were identified.

It also stated that the government decreased its enforcement of the anti-trafficking laws, and only made a modest effort to prevent trafficking altogether.

A government spokesman said yesterday that Hong Kong has been committed to fighting human trafficking all along, arguing that certain descriptions in the TIP report do not accurately reflect the efforts undertaken by the government.

He also added that human trafficking is not tolerated in Hong Kong, and that the government will continue to be vigilant and collaborate with overseas bodies to fight against it.

In response to Hong Kong’s Tier 2 ranking, the Justice Centre Hong Kong, a locally based human rights organisation, launched a three-part research project to examine the prevalence and patterns of human trafficking and other forms of exploitation among vulnerable migrant groups who are often at risk of abuse.

Victoria Wisniewski Otero, Acting Director of External Relations of Justice Centre Hong Kong, stated that it is time that the Government did more to address human trafficking concerns and graduate out of the Tier 2 ranking, where it has languished since 2009.

She added that progress has been abysmal considering the many high-profile cases of abuse, particularly among foreign domestic workers, that have come to the public eye in the past couple of years, notably that of Erwiana Sulistyaningsih last year.

Photo: TIP Report

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