What we want to change

As well as providing life-changing services to refugees in Hong Kong, Justice Centre Hong Kong is also dedicated to influencing policy, bringing about change and raising awareness about issues that affect refugees and survivors of modern slavery.

Our advocacy strategy focuses on:

  • empowering protection claimants to be their own advocates
  • galvinising the support of the government and law makers for our campaign and policy outcomes
  • increasing access to authoritative and user-friendly information on protection and modern slavery in Hong Kong
  • mobilising targeted sections of the Hong Kong community to take action on protection and slavery issues
  • effectively leveraging traditional media and social media tools to amplify advocacy, campaigning and policy outcomes.

What is Modern Slavery?

Regional studies of patterns of human trafficking and slavery indicate that Hong Kong is a destination and transit territory for men, women and children subjected to slavery from mainland China, the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

Key forms of modern slavery include forced labour, debt bondage, child labour, early and forced marriage, involuntary domestic servitude and human trafficking. There are around 21-30 million people trapped in slavery around the world, with over half the world’s slaves in Asia.

Currently, Hong Kong is failing to fully comply with the minimum standards for the elimination of slavery. There are inadequate laws and consequently insufficient data collection in Hong Kong to accurately assess how many cases of slavery occur here each year. Existing legislation merely prohibits human trafficking “for the purpose of prostitution”, but not for other forms of trafficking, which has been criticised in the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report, as well as by UN bodies and several human rights organisations.

Our advocacy work on modern slavery will mainly focus on putting pressure on the Hong Kong Government to:

  1. develop a broader definition of human trafficking which encompasses all forms of human trafficking as set out in the UN Trafficking Protocol
  2. create a national plan of action to combat human trafficking
  3. adopt a comprehensive anti-human trafficking law

At this critical juncture, the Hong Kong Government has an opportunity and the resources to redouble its efforts to combat modern forms of slavery and be a model in the Asia-Pacific region.

Read How Many More Years a Slave, our first policy briefing in a series on Modern Slavery in Hong Kong, produced with Liberty Asia.

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