Published: 11:00, July 2, 2021 | Updated: 14:15, July 2, 2021
HKSAR govt vehemently objects to US trafficking report
By Wang Zhan

This photo dated Oct 28, 2014 shows the Central Government Offices at Tamar, Hong Kong. (PHOTO/HKSAR GOVERNMENT)

HONG KONG - The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government on Friday vehemently objected to “the biased and unreasonable assessment “of Hong Kong in US State Department’s annual report on human trafficking.

In a statement, an HKSAR government spokesman said United States Trafficking in Persons Report 2021's rating of Hong Kong as among the regions and countries in its Tier-2 Watch List was “obviously biased and not substantiated by facts."

An HKSAR government spokesman said there has never been any sign that Hong Kong was “being actively used by syndicates as a destination or transit point for trafficking in persons”

“Hong Kong has all along been making proactive, all-out and multi-pronged efforts to combat trafficking in persons (TIP),” the spokesman was quoted as saying in the statement.

“The USDS not only ignored the fact that TIP has never been a prevalent problem in Hong Kong, but also neglected our unparalleled efforts made over the years and the substantial amount of resources injected in the fight against TIP,” he added.

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The spokesman said there has never been any sign that Hong Kong was “being actively used by syndicates as a destination or transit point for trafficking in persons.”

“Even the COVID-19 pandemic has not swayed the determination of the HKSAR government in the fight against TIP on all fronts,” a spokesman said.

He noted that, in 2020, over 6,900 initial screenings were conducted by the Hong Kong Police Force, Customs and Excise Department, Immigration Department and the Labour Department, with only three victims identified.

“The very small number and percentage of victims identified reinforces our observation all along that TIP has never been a prevalent problem in Hong Kong," the spokesman added.

He noted that, since 2018, the HKSAR government had gone an extra mile in setting up a high-level steering committee, chaired by the Chief Secretary for Administration, to steer policy on actions against TIP and protect foreign domestic helpers (FDHs).

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The Action Plan to Tackle TIP and to Enhance Protection of FDHs in Hong Kong has also been promulgated, with additional funding amounting to HK$62 million annually allocated to support its implementation, the spokesman added.