Hong Kong needs anti-trafficking laws

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 March, 2013, 4:00am

I refer to the report about a Thai woman's ordeal in Hong Kong ("Raped, but too scared to seek help", March 10).

I have always been a huge believer in free trade, but I did not expect that humans could be traded like some kind of merchandise as well. This report certainly raises our awareness of sex slavery and human trafficking.

I am furious that such a thing could happen in Hong Kong, a city that is advanced in almost everything.

I used to think cases like this would only occur in developing countries, but now it seems that I was wrong. The woman in this report is innocent, it is her "new friend" who caused all the trouble, but still, she should have thought twice about the whole thing.

Who would offer an all-expenses paid trip in this world where money is considered the most important thing in life?

The victim in this report may be lucky compared to other people, as there are thousands of human trafficking victims who suffer even more severe consequences.

Some of them are abused by their traffickers and have to deal with serious mental illness as a consequence. In some cases, those who have been abused are charged as collaborators of the crimes rather than being seen as victims, which is totally unfair.

They are also deprived of human rights as they are treated as possessions.

They may struggle to live in this modern society and also suffer from discrimination after the abuse is over.

However, human trafficking and sex slavery aren't crimes that can be stopped by simply setting up laws and regulations. Most of the time, other things, like the economy, are factors.

For example, in places like Thailand, the sex industry makes up a percentage of gross domestic product, so the government cannot effectively stop it without causing an economic crisis.

Countries with human trafficking, like Belize, Myanmar, Cuba, Laos, Sudan, Venezuela and Zimbabwe, are mostly poor and the governments there don't have the resources to stop all the trafficking.

Besides, it's hard to put a stop to it in a short period of time. It might take years to completely stamp it out. Even with new legislation in force, traffickers may still be able to find ways round it and continue their business.

Even though it will take time to end sex slavery and human trafficking, I hope the Hong Kong government sets up laws and regulations that may be able to put an end it these crimes.

As for the developing countries, they need more resources from developed nations like the US.

Matilda Wong, Tuen Mun