Hong Kong volunteers aim to raise HK$2 million in fight against human-trafficking

‘Sweatshop’ set up in Wan Chai, while former chief secretary Stephen Lam lends his support

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 07 May, 2016, 5:13pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 07 May, 2016, 5:13pm

Former chief secretary Stephen Lam Sui-lung was among supporters of an anti-human-trafficking fundraiser expected to raise close to HK$2 million over the weekend.

Volunteers took part in a “sweatshop challenge” in a tent in Southorn Playground, Wan Chai, performing repetitive tasks for an hour or longer without food and drink to get a taste of what it means to work in such conditions.

The money will be used to train corporations on how to detect forced labour within their supply chains, as well as providing seed grants for three NGOs, training NGO staff and providing community outreach services.

Lam said Hong Kong was a “law abiding community and a centre of freedom – we will support any cause [that corresponds to those principles]”.

The event, with stalls raising awareness of human-trafficking as well as poverty in Hong Kong, was co-hosted by the International Christian Assembly and the Mekong Club, with the Mekong Club being the recipient of the funds.

The chief executive of the Mekong Club, Matthew Friedman, said he was targeting banks and manufacturers in Hong Kong to raise awareness of the issue, hoping that they would agree to stop using services and products that could be traced to forced labour.

“Around US$150 billion is made from illegal activities – including forced labour – around the world, and banks are proactively trying to ensure that this money won’t get into their banks,” he said.

Training compliance officers would help Hong Kong companies better monitor where they bought goods and services and whether, a few tiers down, money was fed into the lucrative human-trafficking chain, he added.