Letters | Coronavirus pandemic bodes ill for Hong Kong’s trafficking survivors and domestic workers
- As the pandemic rages on, increased economic hardship and declining living and working conditions provide ripe conditions for forced labour and human trafficking to flourish
As the pandemic rages on, we are likely to see more vulnerable workers pushed into precarious and dangerous territory for survival, accepting risky job offers and falling victim to predatory human traffickers.
Survivors of human trafficking in Hong Kong are also struggling in these circumstances. At Stop Trafficking of People (STOP), a local anti-trafficking initiative, we have observed a sharp increase in anxiety, insomnia and suicidal tendencies among survivors. Factors contributing to this include survivors’ increasingly dire financial situations, delayed legal cases, disrupted repatriation schedules and prolonged family separation. Since few have legal status to work in Hong Kong, most are staying indoors with little to take their minds off their traumatic memories of exploitation.