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Victim Identification Toolkit – Preface.

10 December, 2014 

 

Preface

 

Human trafficking is one of the fastest growing forms of organized crime globally. It is a 32 billion dollar industry that we spend a mere 320 million dollars combatting worldwide. There are an estimated 27,000,000 slaves in the world and over half of this number are in Asia. Over 25% of this total number of victims are children. Trafficking in persons takes many forms and can include sex trafficking, labour trafficking, marriage trafficking, organ trafficking and child trafficking. Human trafficking is a gross violation of human rights that involves the debasement and commodification of individuals. Its essence is exploitation and its markers are coercion, control and deception. Sex trafficking and labour trafficking are the most common forms of trafficking in Hong Kong although strictly speaking Hong Kong laws only recognize cross-border trafficking in persons for the purpose of prostitution.


The number of victims identified on a national and international level is very low. In 2013, the US Department of State reported that only 46,000 of the estimated 27,000,000 slaves in the world are identified worldwide.This huge disparity between the numbers of victims estimated globally and the actual number identified provides a measure of the monumental task that lies ahead of the counter-trafficking movement on an international and national level. It is very common for authorities to maintain that human trafficking is not an issue that impacts their jurisdiction given the low numbers of victims. However, given the invisibility of victims of trafficking and the hidden nature of the crime, it falls upon civil society (support providers in particular) and members of the law enforcement forces to educate themselves on the complex and multi-layered victim identification process so that those in need do not go unrecognized and unassisted.


This victim identification toolkit is aimed at NGO service providers, the police, immigration officials, teachers, health authorities and other such persons as are likely to encounter victims of human trafficking in the course of their daily work. The toolkit sets out definitions of trafficking and associated concepts such as slavery, debt bondage etc… Common misunderstandings about these definitions are also addressed, for example, the relationship between prostitution and trafficking. Common issues surrounding identification are also discussed. The toolkit then examines human trafficking in the Hong Kong context and also puts forward recommendations for improving the existing legislation and infrastructure. Child trafficking is dealt with separately to ensure that the nuances between child and adult trafficking are adequately drawn out. From a practical standpoint, a directory of support services is also provided with a note of the relevant organizations’ expertise and contact details. In addition, checklists and indicators based on common identification criteria are provided for use by first responders to facilitate targeted information gathering and to assist with identification of victims. A Victim’s Charter is also included so that service providers can use this to inform beneficiary groups of their rights and this can be used independently of the toolkit. The training kit and training evaluation forms set out in the Annex are for the use of NGOs to train staff and volunteers on the topic of human trafficking. The Annex also sets out five different exploitation profiles that examine different forms of trafficking and the totality of the laws they infringe in Hong Kong.


Finally, this toolkit is intended to provide a foundation for further efforts to tackle the challenge that is presented by the identification of victims of human trafficking. If victim identification processes are not put in place and mainstreamed in the work that support providers and law enforcement services undertake, there is little hope that victims will be identified and rescued or that traffickers will be prosecuted.


Thank you to Nitchaya Laohaphan and Eszter Szanto for their invaluable work and to Matt Friedman and Duncan Jepson for their guidance and support.

 

End Notes:

 

1 US Department of State, Trafficking in Persons Report 2013, p.7

 

Table of Contents:

 

1. Definitions And Characteristics

2. Issues Surrounding Identification Of Victims Of Trafficking

3. Government Response To Human Trafficking

4. Actors Involved In The Identification Process And Their Likely Encounters With Victims

5. Identification Protocols And Questionnaires

6. Child Trafficking

7. Support Services, Victim’s Charter Of Rights

8. Recommendations

9. Annex 1: Generic Exploitation Profiles

10. Annex 2: Training Kit

 

libertyasialogo

 

 

For further information, please contact:


Archana Sinha Kotecha, Liberty Asia

archanakotecha@libertyasia.org

 

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