U.S. Department of State 2004 Trafficking in Persons Report - Hong Kong

Hong Kong (Tier 1)

Hong Kong is a transit and destination point for persons trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor; specifically, women from the People's Republic of China (PRC) and Southeast Asian countries are trafficked for forced prostitution.

The Government of Hong Kong fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. Hong Kong authorities implement robust anti-trafficking measures. The government maintains effective border and immigration controls, carries out information campaigns to increase awareness of possible trafficking activities, has comprehensive criminal ordinances designed to punish traffickers, and provides access to protective services for trafficking victims. The government has improved its ability to identify victims, document their cases, and help them find assistance. In particular, the Hong Kong Security Bureau has implemented a system among the police, the Immigration Department and the Customs and Excise Department to carefully screen illegal immigrants for potential cases of trafficking.


Hong Kong has no specific anti-trafficking law, but related criminal ordinances are used to prosecute traffickers. The government reported the prosecution of 18 people for trafficking violations or trafficking-related offenses. While one case is still pending, 17 of the 18 have been convicted with sentences ranging from 18 months for more serious acts to 2 months for breach-of-stay offenses. Most of these cases involved causing prostitution, breaching condition of stay, or defrauding the Immigration Department. In the cases of forced prostitution, police made concerted efforts to arrest the traffickers. The government has devoted additional resources to combat trafficking. Law enforcement officers deployed to monitor security, borders, airports, flights and shipping, also monitor for potential trafficking. Hong Kong has taken preliminary steps to identify and document cases of possible trafficking-related activities but could improve its data collection capabilities. Hong Kong maintains effective border and immigration control.


Hong Kong provided sustained support for victim protection services in 2003. In most cases involving possible victims of trafficking for forced prostitution, Hong Kong's policy has been to grant immunity and repatriate the victims without charging them with an offense. Hong Kong provides trafficking victims with a range of protective services regardless of legal status or offense charged. Government-funded services include welfare, counseling, legal, and medical assistance. Trafficking victims are granted access to temporary lodging in women's refugee centers. Hong Kong provides foreign domestic workers with access to support services in labor suits, particularly domestic labor. The government provides training to police officers and social workers in the handling of witnesses and victims.


There is a degree of inter-agency coordination on trafficking among the police, immigration and customs authorities, private industry, and the NGO community. Hong Kong authorities regularly share information on local trafficking and smuggling patterns with the PRC and foreign law enforcement entities. The government also carries out information campaigns to increase public awareness of possible trafficking activities. Hong Kong's human smuggling police unit publishes a biannual report that provides updates on tactics used by traffickers. The government has also distributed multi-lingual pamphlets in key public areas to inform foreign domestic workers of their legal rights.


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