U.S. Department of State 2006 Trafficking in Persons Report - Hong Kong
Hong Kong (Tier 1)
Hong Kong is a transit and destination territory for men and women trafficked for the purposes of sexual exploitation and forced labor. Hong Kong is primarily a transit point for illegal migrants, some of whom are subject to conditions of debt bondage, sexual exploitation, and forced labor upon arrival in a destination country. To a lesser extent, Hong Kong is a destination for women from the P.R.C. and Southeast Asian countries trafficked for sexual exploitation. There are credible reports that women are recruited in their home country to work in Hong Kong as entertainers, waitresses, or musicians, but are subsequently forced into prostitution through the coercive use of debts imposed on them. While there are reports that foreign domestics are abused in the territory, Hong Kong's continuing efforts to regulate the thousands of domestics currently working in Hong Kong appear to have greatly reduced abuses.
The Government of Hong Kong fully complies with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking. The government continued to implement strong anti-trafficking measures. The government devotes significant resources to combating trafficking, including training frontline law enforcement officials to identify trafficking victims, collecting and reporting detailed information on suspected cases of trafficking, conducting undercover operations in establishments thought to be centers for trafficking in women, and providing sufficient protections to trafficking victims through already-established mechanisms. However, the government's anti-trafficking efforts would benefit from a comprehensive plan of action on trafficking-related matters and an outreach campaign to women in prostitution designed to educate them about trafficking issues. The Hong Kong authorities should also collaborate more closely with the Philippines Government to investigate cases of sex trafficking involving Philippine women.
The Hong Kong Government continued significant efforts to combat trafficking through law enforcement means. Hong Kong does not have specific anti-trafficking laws, but uses its Immigration Ordinance, Crimes Ordinance, and other related laws to prosecute traffickers. These laws carry significant penalties, including up to 10 years' imprisonment and substantial fines. Over the last few years, Hong Kong has made efforts to provide better law enforcement data. This year, Hong Kong reported five suspected cases of trafficking, though none resulted in a prosecution or conviction. Hong Kong provides training for police and immigration officials on how to identify trafficking victims. Hong Kong's Anti-Illegal Migration Agency is staffed by highly professional and sophisticated individuals and it maintains tight control at Hong Kong's International Airport.
Since the number of known trafficking victims in Hong Kong is small, the government generally refers them to existing social service programs. The Social Welfare Department and local and international NGOs offer an array of social service programs to individuals in need. The government also provides a general 24-hour crisis hotline, though no trafficking victims used this line in the last year. Additionally, the government trains police officers on how to handle vulnerable witnesses and victims, and a special unit within the police force provides for their protection. Potential trafficking victims may be granted immunity from prosecution if they agree to be witnesses in a criminal prosecution. Individuals who do not agree to act as witnesses may be charged with criminal offenses – including breaching conditions of their stay or document fraud – though the government's general practice has been to repatriate trafficking victims to their country of origin without charging them with an offense.
Hong Kong has indicated a strong willingness to combat trafficking in persons, and is working to raise awareness among police and immigration officials. Given the small number of identified trafficking victims, there are no specific campaigns aimed at women who may be trafficked for commercial sexual exploitation; there are significant outreach programs to foreign domestics. The government has taken strong efforts to ensure that foreign domestics are aware of their rights through multi-lingual guidebooks and public advertisements. Authorities work closely with P.R.C. and other law enforcement entities to share information on emerging patterns of alien smuggling and trafficking.