The legislative framework addressing modern slavery and human trafficking in Hong Kong continues to be criticised in recent years. There was an attempt to introduce the Crimes (Amendment) (Modern Slavery) Bill 2019 into the Hong Kong Legislative Council as a members’ bill, but it was unsuccessful due to the failure in obtaining the support from the Hong Kong Government.
As a result, the existing laws prohibiting certain aspects of modern slavery, principally human trafficking for the purpose of prostitution, remain the primary legislation targeting modern slavery in Hong Kong. However, there are no specific offences for slavery, servitude and forced labour etc.
The Business and Human Rights Network Hong Kong, a Hong Kong-based network of civil society organisations and individuals, has been committed to promoting awareness of and respect for human rights in business operations in Hong Kong. From time to time, it issues publications such as the Submission to the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on its Consultation Paper on Review of the Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting Guide and Related Listing Rules in July 2019, and the Briefing Note on Human Rights Responsibilities of Business Enterprises concerning Ongoing Protests in Hong Kong in August 2019.
What do you predict for 2021?
The Hong Kong Government expressed its view in a press release in June 2018 that Hong Kong’s rigorous legislative regime contains a comprehensive package of safeguards against human trafficking conduct. It remains to be seen whether there will be any reform soon in this regard in Hong Kong.