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The International Social Service Experience in Facilitating Recovery and Repatriation of Victims of Cross-Border Trafficking. Ms. Adrielle M. Pan ̃ ares Director of Development, ISS-Hong Kong Branch Assistant Regional Coordinator for ISS Asia and Pacific HKABPW Meeting March, 2007.

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The International Social Service Experience in Facilitating Recovery and Repatriation of Victims of Cross-Border Trafficking

Ms. Adrielle M. Pañares

Director of Development, ISS-Hong Kong Branch

Assistant Regional Coordinator for ISS Asia and Pacific

HKABPW Meeting March, 2007

Address: 6/F, Southorn Centre, 130 Hennessy Road, Wanchai, H.K.

Telephone: 2835 7591 Fax: 2834 7627


human trafficking
Human Trafficking
  • Trafficking in persons is a violation of human rights and dignity.
  • The human rights approach must be integrated as a basic component of all strategies against human trafficking from:

(a) prevention and advocacy

(b) practical assistance such as shelter provision

(c) social work and legal assistance to

(d) repatriation and rehabilitation.

human trafficking3
Human Trafficking

Trafficking in persons is a serious crime with a very strong international character that involves about 800,000 to 900,000 annually.

It is perpetuated by transnational organized crime groups that prey on those who are vulnerable to false promises and deception. Next to drugs and arms, human trafficking is the 3rd highest source of income for transnational crimes.

Trafficking must be stopped through the 3Ps – Prevention, Prosecution and Protection

iss and human trafficking
ISS and Human Trafficking
  • ISS is in over 150 countries serving children, families, migrants to ensure the protection of their rights in a just, humane and caring society.
  • ISS General Secretariat is in Geneva, Switzerland.
  • ISS has a global commitment to stop human trafficking.
  • ISS HK entered into partnership with the Philippine Consulate General in 2005.
  • ISS HK and ISS Philippines set-up the integrated model of assistance in 2005.

ISS- HK Services

Mobile information Services at the Hong Kong International Airport


ISS- HK Services

Anthony Lawrence International Refuge for Newcomers to Hong Kong


ISS- HK Services

Cantonese and English Language Classes


Human Trafficking Situation

in the Hong Kong SAR 2004 – 2006

  • Most cases are known through a referral from the following:

(1) Filipino Community Work Group on Human Trafficking

(2) Non Governmental Organizations (NGOs)

(3) Concerned Filipino nationals

(4) Walk in to the Consulate/NGOs/ Church Groups

profile of victims
Profile of VICTIMS

Age range: 20 – 33 years

Civil Status:

1. Single

2. Single Parent

3. Married with Children

4. Separated With Children

promised jobs in hong kong
  • Waitress HK$10,000 –$13,000/month, no fixed salaries
  • Entertainers at HK$10,000 per month
  • Guest Relations Officer (GRO) on commission basis
  • Modeling - no fixed salaries
  • Dancers at US$750/month
  • Part time Domestic Helper at PhP9,000/ month or HK$1500/month
  • Receptionist at no fixed salaries
status in hong kong
  • Tourist
  • Entertainers

**High arrivals when ships dock and during summer and special holidays


2. Visa Conditions Not Explained. Victims are restrained, escorted to exit to China/Macau or allowed to overstay until debts are paid.


3. Invalid tickets, tickets with three days to one month validity are used hidden by stickers to facilitate entry. Check with airlines and ticket is null and void.

4 posing as businesswomen complete with business cards stylish clothes and show money in hk or us
4. Posing as businesswomen complete with business cards, stylish clothes and show money in HK$ or US$.
upon arrival in hong kong
Upon Arrival in Hong Kong
  • Victims are mostly escorted by recruiters on the plane. They are met at the airport by HK residents from the same ethnic group or Chinese working with the recruiters.
  • Victims are oriented on the first night of their places of work . Many are forced to have their hair cut or dyed. Recruiters act as tour guides and work with them in the bars observing how they act.
  • Most of the victims were housed around the Wan Chai area. Cases have been reported from Macau.
nature of work
Nature of Work
  • Mainly in the Wan Chai District – Fenwick, Neptune II, Laguna, Cheers Club, Boracay Disco Club.
  • No permanent site as they go where the customers are, escorted by recruiters.
  • Job: Entertain customers, let them buy the drinks where they earn by commission; most are forced to go out and have sex with foreign nationals.
  • All are guarded by recruiters and a chain of bar staff and customers involved in the business.
risk factors
Risk Factors
  • ZERO earnings as recruiter manipulates the payment for the board and lodging, plane fares, make-up, security and protection. No end in the accumulation of debts.
  • No protection or treatment for sexually transmitted diseases and for other sicknesses.
  • Physical and sexual assault, verbal threats, emotional abuse from all parties involved including club bouncers and guests.
risks continued
Risks (continued)
  • Blackmail: Threats that families in the Philippines will be.

informed of the immoral acts they have committed.

  • No concrete departure dates risking overstay and being caught for illegal activity.
  • No anti-human trafficking law in Hong Kong so most are imprisoned for solicitation for immoral purposes (prostitution) or breaching the conditions of stay (overstay) or illegal employment.

Person should be out of HK within 24 hours of surrender unless they become witnesses for their safety and protection.

Determine if there is valid air ticket/ passport/ visa

  • If no air ticket
    • Make arrangements to secure air ticket from other sources or request from DFA
  • If no passport
    • Consulate has to issue the travel document
  • If no valid visa
    • ISS or the Consulate make representation to HK Immigration Dept.
  • Most of our recent victims have declined to make formal statements against their recruiters. Some have rescinded after arrival in the Philippines.
  • Preference for immediate repatriation of Human Trafficking victims (i.e. length of visa stay in HK is limited) leading to funding problems for repatriation. Danger of continued stay in HK of victims from recruiters or minders
  • Possibility of conviction if said victim has actually overstayed in HK already. Victims are caught for soliciting for prostitution and illegal activities and jailed. Victims pay the price while the recruiters are on the loose, exploiting and profiting.

1. Advocacy, Information and PreventiveCampaigns

(a) Leaflets on anti-trafficking and available support agencies for possible victims -Distribution upon release of passports in the various consulates, at the airport and borders, airlines and in the countries of origin

(b) Annual Campaigns – multi-sectoral involvement, territory wide and high media involvement

(c) Community education sessions to sensitize them on trafficking issues for children, women and men in HK, the region and globally.

(d) Module on Trafficking and handling trafficking victims to be integrated in the training courses for the consular staff , the Hong Kong Immigration, HK Police, CSD and relevant authorities


2. Rescue and Repatriation

(a) Creation of a dedicated service for human trafficking victims and women caught in the sex industry which includes a 24 hour Hotline Service, Free Trauma and Reintegration Counselling, Safe Homes, Medical assistance referral and repatriation of victims in HK.

(b) Creation of Trust Fund for Human Trafficking Victims to cover food, shelter, transportation and airline tickets.

(c) Create a network of volunteer women lawyers, multi-ethnic and multi-lingual support groups who can provide legal counsel and practical assistance.


3. Reintegration

(a) Ensure the safe return of the victim to the country of


(b) Provide continuing support in country of origin to engage victims in employable and productive activities.

(c) Active interaction with victim until full recovery to prevent repeat incidents or trafficking to other destinations.


4. Create An Integrated Approach

(a) Create a linked database for trafficking cases in HK.

(b) Integrated approach in the implementation, monitoring and advocacy of the Anti-human Trafficking Law.

(c) Clients First – confidentiality, protection, safety,

humane care and assistance accessible in all places of 4 destination, transit or return.

(d) Clean, honest government practices including clear accountability and consequences of irresponsible actions for agencies involved in the migration process.

Many are hidden, unreported and undocumented in Hong Kong, Macau, China and other nearby countries.
  • Even those who have relatives and friends who know their plights, remain afraid , confused and even desperate as they struggle how to live or leave daily