Lobby group addresses human trafficking issue

Local | Ruby Cheung 31 Jul 2018

A handbook has been launched to help government officers and professionals identify potential human trafficking victims.

The Civil Society Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force in Hong Kong yesterday said in The Handbook on Initial Victim Identification that while it is difficult to spot victims, there are common indicators that may raise red flags.

A human trafficking victim often evades answering questions and behaves in a suspicious manner. Victims also appear frightened, angry or depressed. Visible signs of abuse and indicators of malnutrition or psychological trauma may also be detected.

In Hong Kong, victims are mostly exploited for labor and sex. They can be found in different places such as private residences, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, factories or brothels. Ana, a 28-year-old Indonesian domestic worker, was a victim.

"Upon arriving in Hong Kong, my [employment] agency took my passport and ID as collateral until I paid back my recruitment fees," she said yesterday. "I worked hard for my employer from 8am to 10pm without any rest days. I was told I could earn HK$4,310 a month, but the actual salary was only HK$500 since my employer deducted the costs of meals, accommodation, internet and toiletries."

Ana sought help from a local church and returned to Indonesia.

Under Secretary for Security Sonny Au Chi-kwong said human trafficking is not prevalent in the city. He said that out of 4,700 individuals screened last year by local law enforcers, only nine were identified as trafficking victims.

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