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Response to US report on Trafficking in Persons

     In response to media enquiries, a Government spokesman today (June 20) made the following response to comments in the US State Department's Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2014 relating to Hong Kong:

     "We have reviewed the report in which Hong Kong has been put in Tier Two again. Despite it has acknowledged our key anti-TIP achievements, there exist certain descriptions which cannot fully reflect the unfailing commitment and continuous efforts of the Government in the fight against human trafficking. In particular, we disagree that Hong Kong is a destination and transit and source territory for men, women, and children subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour."

     Hong Kong has continued to be one of the busiest traffic hubs in the world. Notwithstanding the rare occurrence of human trafficking crimes in Hong Kong, we recognise the need to maintain our vigilance towards this threat.

     The comprehensive legislative framework of Hong Kong has already fully underpinned the robust enforcement of our law enforcement agencies. Although there is no sign or evidence showing that Hong Kong is becoming a source, a destination or a place of transit for human trafficking activities, we shall continue to collaborate closely with our counterparts locally and overseas to combat such crimes.  

     The Department of Justice has developed an integrated approach to deal with human exploitation cases in a comprehensive, consistent and compassionate manner. A section entitled "Human Exploitation Cases" was included in the Prosecution Code 2013, with the purpose of providing guidance to prosecutors in handling such cases and identifying victims of trafficking, having regard to applicable international standards and practices.  

     Our law enforcement agencies also initiated new measures in the past year, including fostering closer co-operation with international and local non-governmental organisations and enhancing anti-TIP training for officers.

     The report drew reference to cases concerning the protection of rights of foreign domestic helpers in Hong Kong.  We must stress that no acts of violence are tolerated in Hong Kong. All persons here are under the protection of our laws, law enforcement agencies and the judicial system. The Police will investigate all such cases promptly and thoroughly. Prosecution will be instituted where there is sufficient admissible and reliable evidence to support a charge and the aggrieved worker is willing to act as prosecution witness. Various short, medium and long-term measures will also be implemented to protect the helpers' interests.

     "Human trafficking is transnational in nature. We will continue to be vigilant and collaborate closely with overseas law enforcement agencies in the fight against human trafficking," the spokesman added.

Ends/Friday, June 20, 2014
Issued at HKT 22:07


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